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Delegating Tasks: How Much is Too Much?

Delegating Tasks: How Much is Too Much?

By Kirstin Miller
Newgate Wall Clock - Brixton
Newgate Wall Clock – Brixton (Photo credits: West Elm)

There is a fine line between a healthy volume and process of delegation and a detrimental level of reliance on others’ input and efforts to make key decisions for your company. While some business leaders have a natural instinct when it comes to deciding what tasks to handle themselves and which to pass off to trusted leaders within the organization, the rest of us may need some guidance in trying to discern where exactly that fine line lies. While the amount of delegation necessary can vary wildly from project to project and from company to company, there are a few solid guidelines you can follow to help you make the right calls in the future.

The first step is to know yourself and your particular set of skills. You need to honestly, soberly, and humbly look at your relevant abilities and take stock of where your direct efforts are most valuable. There is danger both in meekly underestimating your own capabilities as well as in proudly overestimating how much you can take on. A modest and open evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses will provide a strong foundation for determining when you can safely pass off a project to those who can handle it better, and when your company’s interests are best served by your own handiwork. Cloud-based project management software can help in accomplishing this.

A good litmus test to start with is to ask yourself whether a particular project will be better off or worse off with your direct involvement. While many business gurus will tell you that strong leaders always trust their best people and delegate often, ultimately if there is no better person for the task, you and your employees are best served by you taking up the reins yourself. If you find yourself unable to articulate the exact process and methodology a task requires, and subsequently frustrated with the results of delegation, that may be an area where your company would benefit greatly from your own work. Ad agencies in particular often benefit from ad agency software.

Delegation can be a valuable tool, but only up to a point. If you keep in mind the strengths, skills, and vulnerabilities of both yourself and the rest of your team, you’ll be able to determine where each person can impact your bottom line the most. Remember, every task that you delegate represents an opportunity cost: that is, the contributions the employee could be making elsewhere. Use delegation, but use it wisely.