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How To Know What Should Be Delegated

Often some of the most challenging decisions a Manager/Supervisor has to make is determining what to delegate and what to keep for themselves.  I’ve found it helpful to think in terms of two buckets of tasks – what should be delegated and what shouldn’t be delegated. In this article we will look at how to determine what should be delegated. Next week we will look at how to determine what shouldn’t be delegated.

What Should Be Delegated

To determine what should be delegated, conduct a mental audit using the following six T’s to determine what tasks make the most sense to offload to someone else.

Tiny: These are tasks that are small and may seem inconsequential, but taken as a whole they add up. They may only take a few minutes but can take you out of the flow of working on more important or strategic items. For example, this might include answering the phone, maintaining your calendar, answering email, registering for a conference, booking a room or flight— on their own each of these things may not take much time, but taken together, they take considerable time.

Tedious: These are tasks that are relatively simple but are tedious and are probably not the best use of your time. For example, loading a spreadsheet, typing letters and presentations, cleaning files, updating Power Point slides are all tasks that should be handed off, even if you enjoy doing them.

Time-Consuming: These are tasks that are somewhat complex and time-consuming. These could be projects that require research, phone calls, or compiling data that you can delegate then step in at the appropriate time and give approval or direction on the next steps.

Time-Sensitive: These are tasks that are time-sensitive and may compete with other higher priorities. You don’t have enough time to do them all in the time allotted, so you should delegate to someone else the least important, or most time consuming, or most time-sensitive task. For example, locating lost or misplaced items or chasing down someone you need to ask a question or make an appointment with can be delegated to a subordinate.

Teachable: These are tasks that can easily be taught or systematized and then delegated, with you providing periodic quality checks and final sign off. For example, teaching one of your direct reports how to create a regularly used template, a presentation, or spreadsheet can be a good way to free up time for yourself.

Terrible At: These are tasks where you feel unequipped or unmotivated to accomplish and should be passed on to someone with strengths in that area. For example, if you aren’t comfortable with some technology, communication, design, or promotion there is generally someone on your team or in your organization who is better equipped to step in.

Many times decisions to delegate must be made in the spur of the moment or heat of the battle. Having these six filters to run a task through can provide a quick way to determine what can and should be delegated.


Posted on May 25, 2021
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Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5