How to Delegate and Empower Your Team Members

How to Delegate and Empower Your Team Members

How to Delegate and Empower Your Team Members

One of the most common issues addressed in Executive Coaching and Mentoring involves the need for leaders and managers to improve their skills of Delegation and Empowerment; frequently this is a key area of improvement that has been identified from comments in 360 Feedback Reviews.  Most managers and many leaders, in particular business owners, often feel they can complete a task quicker than if they have to brief a team member to carry out the task.  However, effective delegation can assist in freeing up time for leaders to work more effectively and strategically, as well as enabling managers to develop their staff, which leads to increased engagement, higher morale and positively affects the bottom line.  More effective delegation can also result in improved Talent Management and Succession Planning.

Ahead of delegating any task it is worth taking the time to analyse your team according to performance, attitude, likely potential, competence, skill level, experience, interests, development needs and team working ability. Then follow the 10 step process for effective delegation and empowerment:

1. Make a list of current tasks you carry out: one marked ‘Keep’, one marked ‘Delegate’.  Tasks on the ‘Keep’ list should be essential to you and should also be aligned with the overall business strategy

2.  Once you have identified what you can hand over to a team member, whether a small task or part of a key project, analyse it and ask yourself how complex it is and how long it may take to complete

3.  Then ask yourself who may benefit from the opportunity to carry out the task or work assignment and what other tasks they may like to do.  Ideally, you should know your team members well enough from meeting with them in regular 1:1s, in order to identify who is capable of taking on more work and more responsibility, as well as those who may wish to progress rapidly

4.  Define SMART objectives for each task and make sure timescales fit with the team member’s existing workload

5.  Agree the level of responsibility for the decision making: this can be total authority for them to get on with the task, or keeping you informed of key stages or issues.  Whatever the level of decision making authority, always try to give an individual sense of ownership for each task and agree the regularity and means of communication

6. Provide clear direction and objectives:  Clarify that it is OK for team members to ask any relevant questions and decide on specific options, or explain that they should check in with you regularly regarding key decisions and progress made

7.  Focus on the objectives and outcomes, not on the way team members achieve these, as this can often lead to criticism, which many team members will find de-motivating

8.  On completion review the outcomes:  For the task – has it been achieved or are any revisions required?  For the person – what skills have they developed and if they were to do the task again, what would they do differently?

9.  Create opportunities for individuals to feel part of the wider team by communicating how each work assignment fits with the vision, strategy and purpose of the organisation

10. Offer constructive and positive feedback and ongoing Coaching and Training opportunities to develop skills and competencies and always remember to take time to share and celebrate success

When leaders and managers hand over work to their teams, they immediately free up time to become more strategic and are able to focus more on the key business priorities.  At the same time, team members, who feel empowered, will become more motivated and productive.  So, it’s a win-win for the individuals, teams and the organization.

'I have mostly felt overwhelmed by my workload and tight deadlines.  However, after our first Coaching session, I completed your delegation exercise and utilized the 2 models you recommended.  Am happy to say that I've freed up some time for strategic planning and the team are much happier to have more stretch goals!  Thank you!'  CFO

About Jill Maidment

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