Audit Your Delegation Effectiveness

Familiar with the expression, “You MANAGE systems and LEAD people”?

Most managers fall into the trap of “delegating on the fly” because they don’t take the time necessary to fine-tune their delegation systems. Take a moment and complete the following exercise to audit your current process.


Read the heading and identify if the statement is true or false for you. Be honest with yourself. If you can’t answer true without hesitation, it’s probably false and needs some adjusting to enhance your delegation skills.

I can name my top-three performance expectations.

  • True: Great. Have you shared them with your direct reports, supervisors, clients, vendors, and peers? Doing so will help increase effectiveness, reduce conflict, and heighten awareness.
  • False: If you can’t easily state what you want, your people probably are in the dark about meeting your expectations. A common source of conflict and stress in the workplace.

Action Step: Share three non-negotiable performance standards with your direct reports, supervisors, clients, vendors, and peers. Keep it short and sweet: “Deadlines are firm. When we promise to deliver on an agreed-upon date, the customer can trust it will happen.”

My team knows MY top-three performance expectations.

  • True: When we communicate expectations, we get better results. Employees want to do a good job, but they often don’t know what management wants. Stay on the same page by regularly asking your team what they think you want.
  • False: If employees can’t state what you expect, they don’t know what you need.

Action Step: Share your expectations, then ask your team to restate them. Check for accuracy—and correct as necessary.

When my team underperforms, they know the consequences.

  • True: Wonderful. You have communicated your standards and are probably experiencing few misunderstandings.
  • False: Review your non-negotiables and spell out consequences for nonperformance. For example, “Missing three or more quarterly deadlines will negatively impact your annual performance evaluation.”

Action Step: Share expectations and reinforce consequences with new hires, vendors, peers, others.

When I delegate, my team knows exactly what is expected, when.

  • True: Perfect. You are setting deadlines and delegating effectively.
  • False: Be clear & direct about due dates and times. Telling an employee to complete a task “soon” or “when you have time” implies it isn’t important.

Action Step: Work on being crystal clear about assignments and deadlines. Share your newly developed strategies with your team for maximum impact.

I know how to address nonperformance.

  • True: Congratulations. You are one of the lucky ones.
  • False: If you are struggling, ask for help from a leader who clearly knows how to address—and correct—performance issues.

Action Step: Help team members who manage others develop processes/systems to address performance concerns.

I consistently meet with my staff. They know what is expected of them in advance of meetings.

  • True: Meeting consistently helps reduce communication and performance problems. If you already are preparing, planning, and running effective meetings, you are ahead of the game.
  • False: If you aren’t meeting with your team consistently, do so. Share themes/agendas, so everyone knows what to expect.

Action Step: Being a great leader comes down to making small improvements daily. To up your management game, select one FALSE response and convert it to TRUE. In the process, you’ll strengthen your management muscles and inspire others.

The more you fine-tune your delegation systems the more effective you and your team will be. Avoid falling into the trap of “doing it for them” simply because you didn’t take the time to delegate effectively.

You can’t make more time in the day. You can only use the time you have more effectively. These delegation tools can help you multiply your output through others.