How Well Do You Delegate?

Whether you work with others, or alone, you may still suffer from the “Lone Ranger Syndrome”—that managerial malaise that causes folks to work excessively long, hard hours because only THEY know how to do something right.

Whoa! There is a cure. Effective delegation is a learnable time management skill that can dramatically increase your effectiveness at work. To find out how well you delegate, take the following Self-Quiz:

  1. In most cases, I can do tasks quicker and better myself than if I delegate.
  2. Before I delegate something, I take the time to visualize the end result and to communicate that to the delegatee.
  3. I work longer hours than others doing the same kind of work.
  4. A written outline or sketch of what I want always accompanies my oral description of the tasks I delegate.
  5. If I get back work that is not what I had in mind, I discuss it with the person to sort out where the misunderstanding occurred and how it could be different in the future.
  6. I ask that work be redone as many times as it takes to make it perfect.
  7. I include the date and time the work is due on my requests. I encourage those who cannot commit to the timeline to renegotiate. I reassign the task, if necessary.
  8. Even though I work constantly, efficiently and effectively, I miss too many deadlines. There is simply too much for me to do.
  9. I keep a log of work given out and its due date, with copies of instructions attached.  
  10. I check work in progress rather than wait until the due date so as to catch potential problems early.
  11. I concern myself with results, not methods, allowing delegates the leeway to use their own strategies to accomplish the task. Doing so encourages greater creativity, productivity and self-respect.
  12. I find myself not getting enough of the “important stuff” done, spending more time on details than on planning or supervising.
  13. When delegating, I always indicate what resources are available and what support I can give.
  14. I always thank people for their efforts, even if it needs revision. Likewise, I give credit, as needed, for those who did the work.
  15. I avoid delegating to the first person who comes to mind, instead taking time to carefully consider who would be the best for the task.
  16. I carefully evaluate job candidates—employees, subcontractors, volunteers or interns—to make sure they are people to whom I could delegate.
  17. Whenever possible, I delegate complete projects, not just individual tasks that would require my constant supervision.
  18. I often find myself working while my subordinates are idle.
  19. I delegate only the jobs I find distasteful, leaving the good ones for me.
  20. I’m able to live with acceptable work that is not done the way I would have done it.

Give one point for each “True” for numbers 1, 3, 6, 8, 12, 18 and 19, and for each “False” to the remaining statements. If you scored 7 or below, your delegation skills maximize your effectiveness and the morale of delegatees. A score of 8-15 indicates you may be missing opportunities for strong leadership and greater job satisfaction. If you scored 16-20 points, your overall performance, and that of delegatees is likely much lower than it could be.

Interested in exploring more effective ways to delegate, please call Linda at 416-617-0734 or email

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