Upping CEO Delegation

Are you a good delegator?  Delegation is among the most important things in a leader’s team toolkit.

Delegation grows leaders and builds teams.

Leaders delegate to their teams in three broad progressive levels – tasks, responsibilities, and outcomes. 

Tasks are a specific goal.  Like “generate $2 million in sales”.  Or “deliver product Y by the end of July”. When a leader delegates at the task level, the leader develops the overall strategic plan, defines the tasks, then delegates the tasks to his team be performed.  Tasks are assigned at the individual executive level.  At the task level the method of its attainment is understood.

Responsibilities are goals with set parameters, such as “increase revenue by 20% with an EBITDA of 30%”.  The leader again creates the overall strategic plan, breaks the plan into components, and delegates responsibility for each component.  Two things are notable.  First, the scope of the goal can be outside the organizational domain of a single executive.  Second, the guidelines suggest the method of attainment is not rigid, and may not be understood.  It requires teamwork among two or more of the executives to complete a responsibility.

Outcomes are the highest level. Examples of outcomes are “enter the South American market,” or “develop a business model to reach SMBs.”  At the outcome level, the leader owns the strategy (that never changes), but the executive team is jointly responsible for creating the plan, defining the goals, and accomplishing them.  The only guideline for the plan is the most important guideline of all, the organization’s values.   

It is not the simple act of delegation that grows your teams, it is the training, coaching and experience you provide to progress them from one level of delegation to the next. Know that you will only be able to delegate at the lowest level the individual member of the team is able to perform.  These are your non-delegable responsibilities. 

Another benefit.  Delegation also tears down organizational silos since it expands the scope of goals, requires teamwork to define the plan, and places more explicit accountability on the team.

Try it.  It not only works, it makes the workplace more successful, and enjoyable for everyone.

If you want a copy of the Closing Strong white paper on delegation, click here and enter “delegation” in the Subject field.



People and organizations don’t grow much without delegation and completed staff work because they are confined to the capacities of the boss and reflect both personal strengths and weaknesses.

– Stephen Covey

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