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Delegation in business: 5 tips and tricks for better efficiency

What is delegation in business?

Delegation in business involves assigning responsibility for certain activities or tasks to another individual. For example, a business owner may distribute work to another individual based on their skills and abilities.

Running a small business means wearing many hats, including processing payroll, managing human resources, and bookkeeping. Many small business owners manage these types of business operations personally. 

However, some tasks prevent business owners from doing what they want or need to do. Things like building new business strategies, focusing on their customers, or innovating their products and services. Despite this, delegation in business is still one of the biggest challenges for owners. 

Using delegation can help you be an inspiring leader and free up more time for you to work on growing a successful business. Effective delegation can give your employees confidence and make them feel more invested in your business. 

Let’s look at how business delegation works, why it matters, and the best ways to put it to use:

Why delegation matters for effective leadership

Delegation isn't just about getting things done—it's about building a stronger team. By strategically delegating tasks, you can improve your focus and increase output. 

The biggest benefit of delegation in your business is preventing burnout for yourself. However, there are other major reasons that delegation makes you a better leader, for example: 

  • Frees up time for strategic thinking: Lets you focus on the big picture and steer your business towards long-term goals.
  • Empowers employees: Gives your team opportunities to develop their skills, take on challenges, and feel valued.
  • Boosts morale and engagement: Recognition for good work fosters a positive work environment and motivates employees to excel.
  • Increases overall productivity: A well-delegated workload increases employee productivity, as well as yours. It allows everyone to focus on their strengths and contribute to the team's success.
The benefits of delegation in business, such as freeing up time for strategic thinking.
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Delegation isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of trust. Assigning tasks shows your team you believe in their abilities. This fosters a sense of ownership and accomplishment, boosting morale and preventing burnout from trying to do everything yourself.

What stops most business owners from delegating?

Delegation can feel counterintuitive, especially for business owners who commonly do everything on their own. Many people avoid or put off delegating because: 

  • They think micromanaging is faster: Training and delegating can feel time-consuming, but a well-trained team can be far more efficient in the long run.
  • They believe they can do it better: It's okay to delegate tasks that others can do well. Focus on your unique strengths and strategic vision.
  • They don’t want to overload employees: Open communication is key. Discuss workloads and delegate tasks that empower your team, not overburden them.
  • They fear giving up leadership: Delegation is about something other than diminishing your role. It's about building a strong, capable team. Your guidance and support are still crucial.

By letting go of certain tasks, you free yourself to focus on higher-level strategies that drive business growth. Delegation isn't just about handing off tasks. It's a leadership style that empowers your team and fuels business growth.

When should you start delegating?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to when you should delegate, but there are general rules you can use. For example, you shouldn’t delegate tasks requiring your expertise. Or, if a small mistake might derail a major project. 

Here’s how to tell when you should delegate tasks: 

  • Your team has the necessary skills: Does another team member's skillset align better with this task? Are they already working on projects that make them a natural fit?
  • Someone has a knowledge advantage: A team member has the necessary context or information readily available to complete this task efficiently.
  • There’s a growth opportunity: Can delegating this task empower someone on your team to develop their skills and take on more responsibility?
  • It’s a recurring task: Is this something that comes up often? Delegate repeatable tasks to free yourself up for more strategic thinking.
Tips for how to know when to delegate a task in business.

Do you have the bandwidth to delegate effectively? Consider the time needed for training, answering questions, and reviewing the work. Tools like QuickBooks Time can help you identify tasks that consume a significant amount of your time.

note icon Create a simple matrix with urgency and importance on the axes. Urgent and important tasks might require your attention, while tasks that are low urgency and low importance could be delegated.

How to delegate work to employees

Delegation isn't just about offloading tasks. To make sure your delegation efforts benefit you, your team, and your long-term goals, you can follow a simple five-step process for delegation in any business:

Tips for improving your delegation in business.

1. Hire the right people

The key to successful delegation is hiring the right people. Then, give your team a chance to show off what they can do. When you delegate, you allow your employees to shine. You show them that you trust them to get the job done. In return, they may feel more engaged, important, and motivated to succeed. 

That doesn’t mean you should hand tasks out at random. Take a moment to consider who is the best fit for each task. When you play to your workers’ strengths, you’ll feel more confident with the delegation process.

As your business grows, so will your delegation needs. QuickBooks Live offers dedicated bookkeeping professionals who can handle complex financial tasks. This frees you up to delegate more strategic initiatives to your internal team while ensuring financial accuracy.

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2. Allow for learning and training

Delegation can be difficult if you’re a perfectionist or believe that no one can do the job as well as you can. However, you can improve your delegation skills by building more trust with your team and providing clear steps and instructions. 

When delegating a new task to an employee, follow this four-step process for effective delegation:

  1. They watch you. Do the task you intend to delegate while your employee watches. Encourage them to take notes and ask questions. Then, debrief with your employee afterward. 
  2. You watch them. Once they feel confident, switch roles. Watch as your employee does the task. Offer prompts or feedback when necessary. 
  3. They report back. Once you both feel confident in the employee’s ability to accomplish the task without your supervision, step back. Allow them to do the task on their own and report back to you.
  4. They do it. Congratulations! You’ve effectively delegated. Your employee can accomplish the task, and you can feel confident in their abilities. It’s still OK to check in from time to time to offer support. 

Also, provide all the resources and direction your team member needs to complete the task successfully. This might include productivity training, access to information, or introductions to key contacts. Your delegating skills will improve as you take a step back. 

3. Communicate effectively

Communicate objectives and expectations from the start. Your team should know exactly what you expect from them and how you want the results. If there are particular details you want to know, outline those ahead of time. If needed, create checklists or reports for each task to ensure you get the information you need.

Your employees shouldn’t feel like you’re watching over their shoulders or controlling their decisions. However, they should know that they can always approach you with ideas, questions, or concerns. 

4. Set delegation boundaries

Not all tasks are created equal. Some tasks make more sense to delegate than others. Set clear delegation boundaries so you always know which tasks to take on and pass off.

Start by evaluating the tasks you currently have on your plate. For each task, ask yourself if someone else on your team could handle it or if there’s a benefit to doing it yourself. You’ll start to see a pattern. Certain tasks are easy to delegate, while others require your attention.

note icon Hold onto sensitive tasks, such as salary reviews, disciplinary actions, or tasks that involve your entrepreneurial vision.

5. Back off

Once you’ve delegated a task, back off. If your employee has to come to you for every decision, why delegate? With the right people, training, and boundaries in place, there’s no need for micromanagement. Take this opportunity to focus your time and energy on other things, like working on your business.

Tips for delegation in business

In theory, delegation is easy. All you have to do is ask for help. In reality, delegation means giving up some control and trusting others—easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you overcome your fears and delegate effectively: 

  • Take inventory of team skills: Record your team members' skills and experience. This can help you identify who might be best suited to handle a particular delegated task. 
  • Start small and choose wisely: Don't overwhelm your team with complex tasks right away. Begin with smaller, manageable projects to build confidence and trust.
  • Practice delegating goals: Don't just delegate tasks—delegate tangible goals and outcomes. Use one of the project management methods, set clear objectives, and track progress. 
  • Get feedback: After delegating a task, schedule a follow-up meeting. Discuss the process, gather feedback, and offer constructive guidance.
  • Give recognition: Offer credit and praise when due. A little recognition goes a long way. Publicly acknowledge your team's accomplishments to boost morale and encourage continued excellence.

By leveraging tools and best practices, delegation becomes a springboard for growth.

Keeping your employees happy and productive

Delegation in business isn't just about efficiency—it's about empowering your team and fostering a culture of ownership. By delegating effectively, you also free up your own time for strategic thinking. 

Tools like automated accounting software and payroll services can further empower you to delegate tasks, track progress, and manage your team—allowing you to grow your business.

QuickBooks Online Payroll & Contractor Payments: Money movement services are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services, subject to eligibility criteria, credit, and application approval. For more information about Intuit Payments Inc.’s money transmission licenses, please visit

Delegation in business FAQ

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