9 Ways to Get Stuff Off Your Plate

Stop assigning tasks to yourself. Successful leaders leave meetings with fewer tasks, not more.

Delegating is taking stuff off your plate and putting it on someone else’s.

But, if you’re always filling other people’s plates, what’s on yours?

Your job is helping others do their job.

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You’re the problem if everyone else goes home on time and you always work late.

Short-sighted leaders:

  1. Hoard work.
  2. Need to feel indispensable. Successful leaders keep working themselves out of jobs.
  3. Prevent others from taking ownership by clinging to authority.
  4. Have disengaged, unmotivated teams. Teammates disengage when you don’t leverage their skills and passions.

The less you do, the more they get done. The more you do, the less useful you are.

5 reasons you don’t delegate:

  1. Fear of losing the spotlight.
  2. It’s easier to trust yourself than others.
  3. Burned in the past.
  4. Unequipped employees.
  5. Organizational culture that honors results over managing for results.

9 tips:

  1. Explain outcomes and deadlines, not methods.
  2. Grant authority when assigning outcomes.
  3. Connect career goals to delegated responsibilities. Ask, “Does this assignment move you in the right direction?”
  4. Delegate to develop.
  5. Delegate to strengths.
  6. Stay available. Don’t hover.
  7. Delegate to people who follow through. Reliability is the best ability, when it comes to delegating.
  8. Connect delegated responsibilities with mission and vision. Explain why it’s important.
  9. Do what only you can do.


Won’t they think you’re lazy if you become a delegating leader? Not if you delegate to their strengths, focus on their passions, stay available to help, and honor their success publicly.

Delegating is maximizing others, not laziness or neglect.

How much:

Delegate a little beyond their capacity or ability. Stretch people. Don’t defeat them. Watch for persistent frustration.

Your job is people. Their job is projects.

Never shirk your responsibilities under the guise of delegation.

What makes delegating go bad? 

What delegating strategies work best for you?