Stress Control: Time Management and Delegation

In my last blog on prioritization, I referred to delegation. In the area of evaluating the importance and urgency of activities, one of the recommendations was to delegate when something is urgent but not important. Herein lies one of the critical factors of time management (and of leadership): delegation.

Many people hesitate to delegate and there are many reasons for this. But, there is no way for you to do everything. In your role at work and at home, you need to ask yourself, “is there someone else who would do this as well or better than I can do it? “ Also, steadfastly make sure that you are doing the things that only you can do and delegate all else. This is a key to productivity in any role.

Here are several principles of delegation to consider.

  1. If you have decided to delegate a responsibility, make that the other person has all the information or education they will need to be successful at that task of responsibility. Don’t set someone up for failure by throwing a responsibility their way without adequate preparation and training. Clear expectations of role responsibility and of desired results are critical for success.
  2. Establish clear parameters of what is to be done; how it is to be done; when it is to be completed; budget restrictions; and why each step of the process is important to the whole.


  1. Provide outstanding mentoring and/or training and give the trainee a chance to dig in—to make mistakes that may provide learning; to do some research; to try things out; to come to you with questions and suggestions; and to gain a sense of ownership of the role.
  2. Remember to support the learned by acknowledging even the smallest steps taken on the road to mastery. If (and when) mistakes are made, sit down (quickly) and review what has happened so that immediate learning and alteration can be made.
  3. Don’t just give someone a task and head off into another world. Follow up. BE interested. Give positive reinforcement and encouragement. That will go a long way toward motivation and success.
  4. Encourage the learner to take initiative by thinking through difficult situations and seeing is he/she can come up with a good solution. Ask them to “batch” questions and come to you at one time with questions rather than coming to you with every uncertainty.
  5. If you give the learner the trust to make a decision—and it turns out that the decision made is not so great, never reprimand that person in front of others. In private, address the decision, the pros and cons. Then brainstorm alternative ways the situation could have been handled. Join together in a collaborative effort to get a great result and to have the learner gain confidence in his/her role.
  6. No matter what, once you decide to delegate any responsibility, ultimately you are responsible.