Announcement: This Wednesday, August 11, 2010 I’m reviewing “Awesomely Simple” and the author John Spence is giving away three signed copies.

Last week I began the process of delegating an internal marketing project. We’re planning the visit of an author to the nonprofit I lead. Here’s how the delegation process goes.


First, delegate vision not tasks. Tasks are important. However, tasks without vision are lifeless burdens. Focus on what not how. George Patton said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

In addition, never fuel passion for a project with words like, “It won’t take much work,” or some other minimizing comment. People aren’t passionate about things that don’t matter. Warren Bennis explains, “Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.”

Second, at the end of the delegation process, agree on milestones and a deadline. Nothing fuels vitality like a deadline to complete a worthwhile project.

Third, leave the door open for ongoing feedback, input, and support.

Fourth, throughout the process, persistently express confidence in the person’s ability to exceed expectations and then let them go within the agreed upon framework. Frank Flores explains, “Give up control even if it means the employees have to make some mistakes.”

Finally, remember you can delegate authority to fulfill vision but leaders never delegate responsibility. The buck stops with you.

In my opinion, one of the greatest success-bottlenecks is leadership’s inability to successfully delegate.


How do you handle the delegation process?

What delegating tips and techniques can you suggest?