Mel Savage Executive Coaching
Leading a Team

How to Use Delegation to Grow Thinkers On Your Team

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Here are 4 tips to effectively using delegation to grow critical thinkers on your team.

I was talking to an overworked executive about his busy schedule.

Turns out he’s taking on more work than he needs to.

He says it’s because he doesn’t have the time to give it to someone else.

“It’s faster if I do it myself”, he said.

Anyone ever said that before?

I have. Loads of times.

But the truth is, delegation is not about what’s easier for you.

Delegation has nothing to do with alleviating your workload.

Delegation is a tool to grow the capacity of your people to create better and better results!

That’s your job.

And it takes a lot of time.

Delegation is an investment in your people.

And if you’re doing it right, it takes a lot more time than if you do it yourself.

Your nudge this week is dedicated to helping you invest more time in delegation.

It’s your job to grow your people. Delegation is the strongest tool in your arsenal. And since I know you like being great at your job, here are 4 tips for effectively using delegation to grow critical thinkers on your team.

1 - Align Tasks to The Person

Avoid delegating tasks based on who has time. Instead, align the task to the growth goal of your reports.

You know them. Give them tasks that take them out of their comfort zone. Or encourages them to expand their thinking. And also assign tasks aligned with strengths to help them shine.

Each person’s plate should have a mix of tasks from easy to hard. And at least one that terrifies them! The scarier the task is for them, the more time you’ll spend supporting them.

2 - Establish Clear Expectations

Spare your team the confusion. Clearly outline the mission, objectives, and criteria for success. Give them what you know. And if there’s information you don’t know, have your report fill in the blanks and bring it back to you.

It doesn’t matter if you clearly outline expectations or you delegate that part to them. The important thing is that you align on what they are before the project kicks off. This includes the cadence for updates.

Expectations may shift throughout the project (they usually do). That’s not a problem. The important thing is to continuously align on the KPIs along the way.

3 - Balance Autonomy with Frameworks

You don’t need to look over someone’s shoulder. But it’s also your job to keep your people on track. It’s your job to know what your people need even if they don’t know it themselves.

Your involvement will depend on the project, how much it stretches them, and the personality of your report.

Some people don’t want help or oversight. They like to take things and run with them… usually right into a wall.

And then there are people who are so afraid of making a mistake they want to check every step.

Your job is to customize your support to each individual based on what they need to grow. Help them feel confident. Anticipate issues. Make decisions. Manage up where required. And keep stakeholders informed along the way.

4 - Be Available

Whether you need to play safety net. Or mentor. Or sounding board. Or thought partner. Or cheerleader. Or clean up crew… your job is to be available for your team when they need you. And even when they don’t think they do.

Your support is the food for growth. Part of that support is a safe space for constructive evaluation of progress.

Whether celebrating success or reviewing failures, take time to reflect on what created the result. Make a habit of discussing what worked, didn’t work, or could be done differently next time.

Bottom Line: Delegation takes time and is how you grow your people.

Delegation grows your people and makes you a more powerful leader. It’s a tool to grow the capacity of your people to create better and better results!

Let go of the notion that delegation is about getting work off your plate. It’s your main tool for cultivating skills and growing future leaders. So the next time you think you don’t have time to delegate, remember what you’re really saying is “I’m not making time to do the core of my job”… and that’s not you.


I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

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