Employer Spotlight

Recruit Gen Y Stars

You need new tools to attract the new breed of talent - Experience will help you build your team with Gen Y stars.


Ease of Use

Our management dashboard helps you easily post jobs, pinpoint targeted candidates and manage your talent pipeline.


All Needles, No Hay

Don't wait for the best candidates to come to your door - with Experience, you can proactively target top talent.


Build Your Experience

Experience is your most important asset - we're here to help you find that next opportunity.


Tell Your Story

You're so much more than just your resume. Showcase your Experience.


Connections Matter

Introductions are made easy when you have Experience -- connect with alumni, mentors and industry insiders.


Use eRecruiting by Experience on campus?
Find your school here.

Home  > Article

Delegating: Learning to Let Go

By From the career experts at Robert Half
Robert Half International

It's a common sight in many companies: the supervisor who stays long after the staff has left and carries home a bulging briefcase each weekend. Managers often avoid taking their full allotment of vacation time because they know the longer they're away from the office, the larger the pile of catch-up work will be when they return. In some cases, the cause may be overwork, but in others it's that these individuals do not properly.

All managers know that part of the job is to delegate assignments to their staff, but many supervisors, particularly newly promoted ones, find it harder to practice than to preach.  In fact, one of the toughest parts of managing is learning to effectively delegate.

      Here are a few common issues associated with delegating:

Why managers avoid delegating

      There are many reasons managers do not delegate, including the following:

  • Supervisors may fear being perceived as lazy, ineffective or unable to keep up with their work.  But managers who delegate appropriately are more valuable to the organization because they can spend their time on strategic initiatives and higher-level projects.
  • Many managers assume it takes more time to tell someone how to complete a task than to do it themselves.  But if work is delegated to the right person, a period of initial training will allow the worker to eventually assume all responsibility for the assignment, saving the supervisor significant time over the long term.
  • Many supervisors think that no one can do the work as well as they can.  But when a manager adequately trains a worker and gradually introduces him or her to additional responsibility, the employee is often able to complete the task effectively.
  • Some managers may fear that a member of the staff could do the work better; by delegating, supervisors worry they are potentially endangering their jobs.  But by not taking advantage of the talents of their employees, managers limit the productivity of their teams.  In addition, a strong group of employees often reflects positively on the supervisor who oversees them. 
  • Because they bear the ultimate responsibility for the outcome of a project, bosses may worry they will suffer if their subordinates make mistakes.  But with adequate checkpoints and controls, managers can be sufficiently apprised of progress to recognize trouble early enough to make corrections.

The case for delegation

      Effective delegation can provide you with the following benefits:

  • You can often accomplish more by delegating because you can assign routine tasks, such as gathering data for a monthly report, to others.  Doing so gives you more time to focus on planning and strategic initiatives.
  • Staff members become better trained and, by exercising more authority, more confident and competent.  They also remain engaged at work and are less likely to pursue other employment opportunities.  Furthermore, the experience and skills enhancement employees gain prepare them for more challenging projects and eventual promotion, allowing them to provide even greater value to the company. 
  • A well-trained staff that is able accomplish more helps build your reputation within the firm.  Senior executives may consider you for further promotion, especially since you have developed a pipeline of confident performers who are able to step in for you.

How to begin

Deciding what to delegate and to whom can seem overwhelming.  Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Make a list of projects others on your team are qualified to handle, but avoid the temptation to simply offload the chores you don't like and hold on to the ones you do.
  • Evaluate the talents, strengths and weaknesses of your staff and consider which ones would be most appropriate for each task.  For example, if you have a team member with PowerPoint expertise, you could assign that person to draft a presentation for a quarterly meeting.  You might ask for volunteers if you are in doubt. 
  • You can delegate different levels of authority.  A very experienced staff member may be able to handle an entire cost-benefit analysis with little supervision.  A person with less experience could work on a portion of a project, such as gathering cost data, while you check periodically on progress and make suggestions.  New people may need more guidance and coaching, but over time they will gain confidence and experience.
  • Before handing a project off, be sure the staff member has a proper understanding of the assignment's background, including priority level, deadlines, available resources, expectations and how performance will be evaluated.  The more information you can provide at the beginning of the task, the better the chance the employee will do well.
  • Be supportive without hovering or micromanaging.  If you wind up doing all the work, staff members will not develop the ability to do it themselves and you will not have delegated anything.
  • Resist the temptation to take an assignment back if trouble arises.  If an employee comes to you about a problem with the project you delegated, don't take on the problem or present a ready-made solution.  Instead, give the person some approaches for attacking the issue him- or herself.
  • Inevitably, some projects will not go smoothly, and staff members will make mistakes.  Instead of using these instances as a reason for holding onto assignments, focus on what went wrong and how an issue can be avoided in the future.  Consider the episode a learning opportunity for both you and your team.
  • Finally, always show your appreciation for your staff's efforts.  Give them due credit, and praise those who exceed your expectations.

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International Inc., the world's largest specialized financial recruiting service and a leading authority on workplace and management trends. The company has more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Learn more at

Copyright 2008 Robert Half International. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

More Related Articles

Should I take the offer or the counteroffer?
The trick with counteroffers is that nagging sensation that if they could afford to pay you more, why didn't they?

Surviving Office Politics At Your New Job
Whether you are just starting your first job or your 10th job, you will find that office politics is consistent in all companies.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Jobs
They help us build our houses and feed our families. They deliver our packages and take away our trash, and when we need a ride, they're there to whisk us away. And they're risking their lives to do it.

Google Web Search
Didn't see what you were looking for?
powered by Google
Copyright ©2017 Experience, Inc Privacy Policy Terms of Service