Pre-Delegation Checklist for Supervisors

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Successful delegation requires careful planning and a pre-delegation checklist can help. This lesson will review the tasks and considerations that must be done before starting the delegation process.


Delegation is all about empowering someone else to act on your behalf. It's about giving another person the authority and responsibility to perform a part of your work and entrusting them to hit it out of the ballpark. It's a learned skill that can make a good manager great.

As a manager, when you are delegating to others you are showing them your trust and confidence in their abilities. You are giving them the opportunity to grow their skills, and in turn, they will produce better results. As a bonus, you also free up your time for more important tasks. It can be a win-win for everyone.

But be warned, delegation is not just saying ''Hey, can you do this now?'' and then go skipping off. It's a process that involves not only delivering the task, but also following up on it until its completion. There is an art to delegation, and it entails, quite literally, a checklist of items. So if you want to delegate like a pro, we'll explain how to begin with this lesson.

Preparation is Key

When it comes to delegating successfully, preparation is key. There are a multitude of things to consider before starting the delegation process. Oftentimes vital information is overlooked, and that's when delegation can become ineffective. One way to ensure that you've got all the bases covered is to break down your planning into five basic questions: what to delegate, to whom, how, when, and where.

We'll start with the following example, and then move into the five questions.

Charlie is a manager at Tough Cookie, a startup company that develops antivirus software. His responsibilities are growing by the minute, and it's becoming impossible for him to do it all. So naturally, Charlie decides to delegate tasks to his team. One of the tasks, which is the most time consuming of all, is responding to emails from clients about technical issues. What must Charlie do in advance of delegating this task?

Pre-Delegation Checklist

This is where a pre-delegation checklist comes in handy as it can help make planning a lot more efficient. Let's review it now.

1. Identify what task you want to delegate.

  • Is the task routine, planned, or something a team member has expressed interest in?
  • Can the task be performed by someone else?

Figuring out what task to delegate is the first step. Usually, if you can answer yes to both questions regarding a task, then delegate it.

2. Select who should perform the task.

  • Does the person have the knowledge, skills or experience to do the task well?
  • Will the task help develop the person's skills and competency?
  • Does the person have enough time to complete the task?

Choosing the right person for the task is obviously important. You want to ensure that the person you select is capable, has the time, and can benefit from doing the task. Let's say that Charlie is considering two team members; one that has the technical expertise to solve problems and the other that has great negotiation skills. Who do you think Charlie will pick? Likely the person with the technical expertise.

3. Determine when the task needs to be completed by.

  • What is the deadline for the task?
  • Are there any milestones?

Chances are that if there is no deadline, the task may never get done. So establishing a deadline is pretty important. Creating milestones are also helpful for tracking the task's progress. In cases where a task is recurring, like answering emails on a daily basis, you may want to define a turnaround time, such as responding to each email within 24 hours.

4. Plan how you are going to deliver and monitor the task.

  • Can you describe the task clearly and concisely?
  • Can you explain the importance of the task?
  • Can you describe the desired results of the task and when it's due?
  • Can you clarify how much authority (decision-making power and resources) the person will have?
  • How often will you meet to discuss the task's progress and feedback?
  • How will you communicate the task (e.g., face-to-face, by phone, or email)?

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