How To Delegate

by / ⠀Startup Advice / December 11, 2012

True statement: You cannot do everything.

Often it seems easier to attempt to do everything.  However, you won’t accomplish much unless you learn the delicate art of delegation.

A quick disclaimer:  When you start to delegate, make sure the task is somehow worthwhile. Otherwise people will resent you for asking that they spend their time doing work which doesn’t benefit anyone. If it’s not worth doing yourself then carefully evaluate why, before you ask someone else to do it. This will help you avoid being manipulative or demanding. Also, don’t assign demeaning tasks which lower the individual’s confidence in his or her abilities. If your helper is willing but inexperienced, take the time to teach and develop their skills so they’re actually useful. To put it simply, delegated tasks or projects should be purposeful, and beneficial, not menial or unnecessary.

So when to delegate, instead of DIY? When you’ve run out of time, resources, or energy to get everything worthwhile accomplished. That is when it’s time to ask for and oversee help. And……Here’s how!

1.)     Use reason to persuade someone to join your project.

You need them invested in the undertaking. In order  for them to be invested, you need a good reason why they should help you. The individual must resound with your idea or motivation for the project. So asking a software engineer to help raise money for a classical dance group is not going to excite his interest or desire to help. Scrutinize your potential helpers and make sure you can provide them with a reason they should care about what your doing.

2.)     Appeal to their pride.

Every person has a unique set of abilities and characteristics. When asking for help, explain what those characteristics and abilities are that made you choose them and why those will be such an asset to the project. Everyone has worked hard in certain capacities and an occasional pat on the back for their development is good whether you need something or not. But people are more likely to help when they feel valued.

3.)     Realize the idea of hierarchy in the project will only hurt it.

When people are invested in an idea, and are aware of what their unique capabilities can do for the project, you will just confuse them if you don’t ask for their advice. So make sure to ask for their advice and give good thought to their suggestions.Remember they do care! Allow them to make certain decisions on their own to help them feel important to the project (which indeed they are).

4.)     Be appreciative.

That may be the most important.  It seems very simple, but it is overlooked so often. Take the time to notice when they do a good job, or have been remarkably helpful. Never allow an opportunity to slip by where you can tell someone that they have done well. Many people will happily be inconvenienced for just a few words of kindness and praise.

5.)     Do not micromanage.

Once you have delegated a task, allow and trust that they will complete it. This trust will accomplish more than if you were constantly checking up on them. People are offended if you don’t trust their ability to do a project you assigned or when you are impatient about completion.

Bethany is an office manager for DiguDesign, a graphic design studio located in Rochester NY. She’s also the author of “Surpass Ordinary Standards” a blog about living a life of excellence.

Image Credit:

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.