Delegating well is key to success.

It frees up your time to focus on the things you uniquely do, develops a great team around you, and allows you to deliver on the truly big projects.

In fact, we can't do it alone and those of us who have the best teams and delegate well to them are the ones who deliver truly superior results.

Here are five ways to improve your delegation skills no matter what stage you’re at in your career.

1.  Delegate with full conviction that the person will succeed, and commit to helping to make it so

When you delegate to a team member, your confidence in them rubs off, just as your hesitation will tend to make them tentative and unsure.

And so much of success is having confidence – the confidence that tips the balance from just under the goal line to just over it.

And the reason you can have that conviction is that you are going to be there to support the person and act as a shepherd with advice when they need it, and helping to “run interference”.

This is someone from your team and you have a vested interest in seeing them succeed.

2.  Don't become obsessed with the perfect way forward

It's far more important that the plan is “good enough” and in the hands of someone really passionate about it, even if it isn't the one you would've chosen.

3.  Choose the right people for the right tasks

For those urgent and important situations, find people who are really good in the moment. These are the people in your team who are not easily flustered, and generally unflappable.

In fact, they tend to shine when the pressure and urgency is on.  Give the task to them, and know that they will make it happen.

4.  Use “Teachable Moments”

These are the quiet moments when you can have an honest conversation in private about “how did it go?”. Make them non-confrontational.  It’s your time to support your junior.

When you step into a teachable moment, you help your juniors to be able to adjust when they make mistakes.

5.  Be liberal in giving recognition

Reward and praise are infinitely dividable and you can spread it widely. Blame, on the other hand, is less so.

Recognition is far more powerful than financial rewards, and it's especially powerful if a very senior person gives it. So don't be stingy. It costs little, and means so much.

Of course you have to have a basis for giving praise, but you don't need to be obsessive about an elaborate set of metrics as long as you are directionally correct.

So when you’re delegating, remember to:

  • Help your team member succeed,
  • Accept that they may not do it the way you would, and
  • Choose the right people for the right tasks, then
  • Use “Teachable Moments”, and
  • Be liberal in giving recognition.

You’ll have a more motivated team and even better results than going it alone.

Let me leave you with this question:

What's the next action you’re going to take to be even better at delegating so you can zoom ahead in your career?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

If you'd like to learn more about delegation, then check out this article from Time Doctor – The Art of Delegation: Developing This Essential Managerial Skill.

Many thanks to Gary Dirks, former CEO of BP China, for sharing his experiences as a master delegator, and Jim Collins, faculty member at Arizona State University, for sharing his “teachable moments” concept with me.