Business Leader campaign: Delegating as an entrepreneur – what do you need to know?

Manley Hopkinson is the founder of renowned leadership consultancy Manley Talks LTD, author of Compassionate Leadership and a sought-after keynote speaker. As part of Business Leader’s 12 Day campaign to support entrepreneurship, he shares his thoughts on the importance of delegating.

Delegation. We all know what it means: getting other people to do stuff!

It is something we do every day but without really thinking about it. However, in my experience, it is also the single biggest cause for poor performance and dissatisfaction across the whole working world.

That’s a big statement to make I know, but it is what I see no matter where I go.

Because it happens so much, we fall into the trap of either not thinking about it, or just believing that we are doing it right and that any performance issues must be due to others’ incompetence!

But actually, let us stop and think about it. What is the impact of getting delegation right? The job gets done well and on time. The team are happy through their success. The boss is doubly happy as not only have they not had to do the job, but the team who did it did it well and so can do more. Delegate well and it is a stress-less activity.

But what if we don’t delegate so well? What if the task is not done on time, or not done properly? What is the impact on the team of their perceived failure? What is the cost to your business of missed deadlines and poor delivery? What damage to your career if you keep missing those targets? Delegation done badly creates stress at all levels.

So, we ought to delegate seriously, we should delegate consciously, and we must delegate compassionately. Let me explain.

In my view, delegation is “enabling someone else to act on your behalf for an agreed desired outcome, giving them authority but not transferring responsibility, enabling them to achieve, and standing by them”

Delegation is an agreement; delegate the right task to the right person and ensure you set them up for success.

It is not just telling someone to do something! That is just arrogant, ignorant and careless. How do you know that they fully understand the why, the what and the how if you have not had a dialogue and an agreement? You don’t.

But brilliant delegation is not just agreeing what needs to be done by when and why, it means also agreeing:

  • The current reality – where we begin from
  • The boundaries – of scope and responsibility
  • The goal-based check points – the milestones
  • The time-based check points – are we still on track?
  • The capability, commitment and capacity of the team doing the task
  • What opposition or obstacles might get in our way?

We call this “pitch-marking” or “field-marking”. You need to mark the pitch or the field before you can play the game!

It is a superbly simple and very memorable checklist for brilliant delegation.

So why must we delegate compassionately? A compassionate leader is set up to delegate effectively as they have the understanding of their people and use that knowledge with positive intent.

Mark the pitch, blow the whistle and let them play the game!

We want to hear from you! 

To win a copy of Manley’s book, please send in your best practices for delegating in the workforce to!

All answers will be featured below and will be shared on the Business Leader social media channels.