Aim Higher: How Leaders Delegate Effectively 

How Leaders Delegate Effectively



In this episode of “Aim Higher,” my panel of experts and I discuss how to delegate effectively. We cover a lot of ground in 30 minutes, with tips on how you can create successful delegation situations and really set yourself up for success. Throughout the whole process, we pay special attention to issues of transparency, as that will be key across the entire process.


“Delegation doesn’t just mean saying, ‘I’m out.’ That’s just being a passive manager.” – Drew Bordas


For example, as my regular panelist Drew Bordas points out, “Delegation doesn’t just mean saying, ‘I’m out!’ That’s being a passive manager.” He’s so right! And delegation isn’t just about ordering people around or emptying your calendar so you can take the day off. Transparency about delegation requires everyone on the team to understand *why* they’re doing the work, not just *what* you want them to do. It requires a culture of transparency and goal setting, so that you, as a leader, can identify who is best for each task and make decisions that benefit the whole organization.


“Some managers don’t like to delegate simply because they want to do all the fun stuff! Leaders don’t fall for this trap.”  – Skip Prichard


Leadership Makes a Difference

There’s a team-building exercise that’s a good way to demonstrate this. In teams of four, provide a bunch of 8.5×11 scrap paper from your recycling bin (don’t waste new paper, please). Tell the teams that the assignment is, in 3 minutes, to build a paper structure as tall as possible…without speaking. No other direction besides that. They can fold, mutilate, bunch, crunch and stack the paper however they want, just no talking. At the 3-minute mark, measure the tallest tower and award a prize or a hurrah or whatever you like. Now…do it again. But this time, tell the teams that they should assign one person to be the leader who can talk and direct the activity, but before the timer starts, the other three people get to present their ideas for 2 minutes and the leader must listen silently. It’s a quick eye-opener for the difference that communication–both listening and speaking–can make in an assignment.


“For new leaders, delegation can be a trust issue.” – Jennifer Collins


I hope you’ll listen in to this week’s panel and encourage your team to do so as well. Because in this case, while leaders need to do a lot of the heavy lifting to start the delegation process, the whole team needs to pitch in to hold itself accountable.

Click here to listen to this episode of Aim Higher.


“Good delegation requires you to change your definition of success.” – Tammi Spayde




Image Credit: Azazello BQ



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