Leadership delegation: the key to successful management

A comprehensive overview of what this leadership style is, what are the necessary skills and how best to implement them plus the benefits it can bring your small business.

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As a business owner, we know that running your small business comes with its own set of unique challenges and demands. 

But here’s the secret all calm and controlled leaders know: you have to learn how to lead and delegate effectively.

By mastering the art of assigning tasks and responsibilities to your team members, you can create a thriving work environment that promotes growth, development, and trust.

In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of leadership delegation, highlighting its importance for small business owners in the UK. We’ll explore how this management style can not only improve your leadership abilities but also empower your team members to contribute their best to achieve collective success.

What is leadership delegation?

Leadership delegation is a valuable management style that involves entrusting tasks and responsibilities to others within a team or organisation. 

When leaders delegate effectively, they distribute tasks based on each person’s skills, interests, and expertise. It’s not just about offloading work, but rather a strategic process that benefits both the leader and the team members. 

Delegation frees leaders to focus on high-level decision-making, strategic planning, and other critical responsibilities, while team members gain valuable experience, develop new skills, and feel more engaged and motivated.

To delegate effectively, leaders need to clearly communicate their expectations, provide necessary resources and support, and ensure that every team member is comfortable with their role and held accountable for completing it well and according to schedule. If not, reassessment will be needed.

It’s not about passing the buck or playing the blame game. Leaders ultimately remain responsible for the outcomes and need to provide guidance, monitor progress, and offer feedback along the way.

Leaders create an organisational culture of trust, collaboration, and shared ownership by delegating. Successful delegation not only lightens the leader’s load but also cultivates a more productive and resilient team, ultimately leading to better results and success for the entire organisation.

One crucial aspect of effective leadership delegation is recognising when to assign tasks to others. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether delegation is appropriate:

Who is best for the task?

Assess the skills, experience, and capabilities of team members to identify the most suitable individual for a particular responsibility. Distributing tasks based on strengths enhances overall teamwork and performance.

How important is the task?

Prioritise tasks based on their impact on the organisation’s goals and objectives. Assign critical tasks to team members who can handle them effectively, while considering the developmental opportunities for others.

How will success be measured?

When it comes to measuring success, it’s important to set clear expectations and outcomes for each task. Take the time to define what success looks like for the delegated responsibilities. How will the leader and the employee know if or when they’ve hit the mark? 

That’s where measurable metrics come into play. Establish criteria or benchmarks that allow you to evaluate the success of the delegated tasks. These metrics should be aligned with the overall objectives of your business. 

By having a clear picture of what success means and how to measure it, you can track progress, make adjustments if needed, and celebrate achievements along the way.

SMART Objectives

SMART objectives are a goal-setting framework that helps individuals and organizations create clear, focused, and achievable objectives. The acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Objectives should be clear, well-defined, and focused on a specific outcome or result.
  • Measurable: Objectives should be quantifiable and include specific criteria or metrics to track progress and determine success.
  • Achievable: Objectives should be realistic and attainable within the given resources, time frame, and constraints.
  • Relevant: Objectives should align with the broader goals and priorities of an individual or organization.
  • Time-bound: Objectives should have a specific timeframe or deadline for completion, providing a sense of urgency and accountability.

The benefits of delegation

Delegation plays a pivotal role in the gradual improvement and natural progression of a company. 

It is not a sign of weakness or relinquishing control—it’s a strategic move that magnifies leadership abilities. By distributing tasks, leaders free up time and energy to focus on visionary thinking and making bold decisions that propel their organisation forward. 

Here are some other significant benefits of leadership delegation:

  • Delegation encourages upskilling: it provides opportunities for employees to expand their skills and expertise. By entrusting them with new responsibilities, leaders foster continuous growth and development, enhancing the overall competency of the team.
  • Delegation empowers employees: it empowers team members by giving them a sense of ownership and accountability. It boosts their confidence, motivation, and job satisfaction, ultimately leading to higher productivity and engagement.
  • Delegation builds trust: a powerful trust-building tool. when leaders delegate tasks, they demonstrate confidence in their team members’ abilities, fostering self-esteem and mutual respect. This forms the foundation for effective collaboration and innovation.
  • Delegation enhances team capacity: it allows leaders to leverage the strengths of their team members, maximising the collective potential. By recognising and utilising individual talents, leaders can create a high-performing team capable of tackling complex challenges.

5 top tips for delegating successfully

To delegate effectively and reap the benefits of leadership delegation, consider implementing these five top tips:

1. Be willing to relinquish control

Effective delegators have a secret—they know that trying to do everything themselves is a recipe for exhaustion and limited success. They understand that their team members possess unique talents and abilities that can elevate the entire group to new heights. So, they embrace the power of delegation with open arms.

Trusting others is a fundamental aspect of delegation. It’s like passing the baton in a relay race. Effective delegators have faith in their team’s abilities and believe in their potential to excel. They hand over tasks, knowing that their team members will rise to the occasion, bring fresh perspectives, and deliver outstanding results.

“There is a fine line with delegation that can sometimes feel like micromanaging and it’s been my goal and commitment to ensure that I don’t do that.  

Everyone does things in a slightly different way. If you crush an employee’s sense of self and the ability to do things with their flair – you turn them into robots who will actually make more errors.

I let them go!  I hire staff because I believe they’re good – so I have to trust that decision.  The final result is usually different to what I would exactly do – BUT – it’s still good and complete.”

– Renae Smith, Founder & Director of The Atticism PR & Brand Development

2. Adopt a strengths-based approach

Effective delegation is not about simply distributing tasks randomly. It’s a thoughtful process of matching strengths with responsibilities, like fitting puzzle pieces together. When you do it right, you unleash the full potential of your team, creating a dynamic and supportive workplace where everyone can thrive.

Aligning tasks with individual strengths not only boosts performance but also cultivates a positive work environment. When people feel that their strengths are recognised and utilised, they become more engaged and motivated. It’s like creating a virtuous cycle where each person’s unique abilities contribute to the overall success of the team.

“If you want to be an effective leader, you need to be aware of each person’s existing and potential skill background in addition to their weaknesses and strengths. Look at your team members’ skill sets and give jobs to people with the most applicable ones. It may sound apparent, but many managers simply hand off tasks to whoever is easier to reach.”

– Gerrid Smith, Director of E-commerce of Joy Organics

3. Provide the necessary support

When it comes to delegation, effective delegators understand the importance of providing their employees with everything they need to succeed. It’s like being a helpful guide, making sure your team members have the right resources, information, and support to tackle the tasks you’ve entrusted to them. 

But it’s not just about giving instructions—it’s also about being available to answer questions and provide guidance along the way. Encourage an open-door policy where your team members feel comfortable approaching you when they need clarification or support. Remember, you’re there to be their ally, not an elusive figure who hides behind closed doors.

Equally important is providing access to the right tools and resources. This could mean granting access to relevant software platforms, providing training on new tools, or connecting them with subject matter experts who can offer guidance.

“Training provides a standard language for the team to use when discussing how to organise their work activities. This, in turn, makes certain that projects are completed on schedule, which helps to avoid bottlenecks and keeps things going smoothly.”

– Taylor Reeves, VP of Marketing at Pickleballer

4. Encourage innovation

Effective leaders recognise that innovation and growth come from tapping into the collective wisdom of their team. They value the diverse perspectives and experiences that each individual brings to the table. Rather than imposing rigid structures or stifling creativity, they empower their team members to share their ideas and contribute to the organisation’s development.

In addition to generating fresh ideas, this approach to delegation also cultivates a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Team members are encouraged to experiment, take calculated risks, and learn from both successes and failures. It’s through this process of exploration and iteration that the organisation evolves and stays ahead in a rapidly changing world.

“I avoid micromanaging at all costs after delegating tasks to my team members. However, I always make sure that I have clearly stipulated the expected deliverables to them before they begin the task. 

Micromanaging will only bring about resentment from your employees, and it can also curtail creativity and innovation among them. Giving them creative freedom over the tasks you assign to them is also a sign that you trust them and their capabilities. This motivates them to get the job done to the best of their abilities.”

– Lisa Richards, CEO and Creator of The Candida Diet

5. Communicate frequently

When it comes to delegation, communication is like the secret oil that makes everything work smoothly – and that starts with clearly explaining the tasks and responsibilities you’re delegating. Make sure everyone understands what needs to be done, why it’s important, and what success looks like. 

But don’t stop there! Regular check-ins are crucial to keep the delegation train chugging along. Schedule some time to touch base with your team members and see how things are going. It’s not about micromanaging or breathing down their necks, but rather offering support and guidance when they need it.

“We delegate as much as possible – most recently the training and development of new employees to our management team. The strategy involves giving them total, uninterrupted ownership of the project – with pre-agreed, periodic reviews of the progress of new employees at months 1, 3 and 6. 

At the 6-month mark, it is vital in fulfilling our obligations in the development of the new starter, that we also review the performance of the manager. 

At this stage, we can easily implement any necessary changes. In the majority of cases, there are none!”

– Dan Hanley, Director of Octane Accountants

During these check-ins, be open and receptive to feedback. Listen to any challenges or concerns they might have encountered. This is your chance to provide advice, offer solutions, or simply be a sounding board. Remember, you’re there to be their cheerleader, not their taskmaster.

And speaking of cheerleading, don’t forget to give them feedback on their progress. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in boosting morale and keeping everyone motivated. Acknowledge their efforts, highlight their achievements, and offer constructive suggestions for improvement. It’s like sprinkling a little bit of confidence-boosting glitter on their hard work.


Leadership delegation is not just a managerial style—it’s a powerful catalyst of success within your team. It’s more than handing over tasks; it’s about unlocking the true potential of each individual, fostering their growth, and propelling your organisation toward greatness together.

In the realm of leadership delegation, success lies in: 

  • Trust, and empowering your team
  • Clearly communicating tasks and expectations while maintaining open lines of dialogue
  • Providing guidance, support, and feedback to foster a sense of shared ownership

Remember to delegate based on individual strengths and interests, allowing team members to flourish and grow. Embrace new ideas and approaches, encouraging creativity and innovation within your team. 

And lastly, lead by example. By following these tips, you’ll unlock the true potential of your team, achieve remarkable results, and cultivate a thriving and resilient organisation.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a leadership delegation?
    Leadership delegation is a style of management that involves empowering and entrusting team members to execute tasks autonomously.
  • Why is leadership delegation important?
    Leadership delegation allows leaders to focus on higher-level tasks and strategic planning, Secondly, it promotes skill development and growth among team members by providing them with new challenges and opportunities which in itself promotes employee engagement and motivation.
  • How do you determine which tasks to delegate?
    Tasks that are less critical, time-consuming, and require specific expertise or can serve as learning opportunities are often suitable for delegation. It's also essential to assess the capabilities and interests of team members to match tasks with their strengths.
  • What are some common challenges in leadership delegation, and how can they be overcome?
    Common challenges in leadership delegation include a lack of trust, fear of losing control, inadequate communication, and unclear expectations. To overcome these challenges, leaders should build trust by providing clear objectives, guidance, support, and constructive feedback.
Written by:
Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 14 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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