How to Decide What to Delegate

Sept. 1, 2020

Delegation not only reduces the load on you, but grows the team around you. Here's how to choose what tasks are worthwhile.

We should by now understand the need to delegate, if you haven’t checked out my last two articles from June and July. Delegation not only reduces the load on you, but grows the team around you.

The greatest running back ever could not even make it back to the line if he didn’t have a team executing assignments to produce positive gains. If you believe you are the running back or the quarterback of your team, you must know the importance of others assignments to give you a fighting chance.

So, what do you delegate? It’s obvious as a back that you can't give the ball to the guard and tell them to run (although I love a fat man dance in the endzone). In business, you have a constant flow of items that need to be handled, you could try and handle them all yourself as many new leaders do. You can instead use a simple method to decide what you have to do, or someone can do. 

List out your projects.

You have a list of things that must be done today, in a few days, and even towards the end of the week. It is important to list them all out so you can have a good understanding of what you have in front of you. While most of them will be repeating (order on a certain day, receive on a certain day, have a schedule done by a certain day) other tasks will be scenario based or reactionary (fix the pump, inspect a vehicle, change the signs for the new promotion) No matter the task, write it down. It will help you determine your workload and open up transparency to the team of your responsibility.  

Rank your actions to determine if they are urgent or important.  

Draw a big cross in the middle of a paper to where your page is now divided into four sections. On the top left of the page you will write "important." On the top right, you'll write "not important."

On the lefthand side, write "urgent" next to the top box. On the bottom, you write "not urgent." Now you will have four classifications: top left (important and urgent), top right (not important but urgent), bottom left (important but not urgent) and the bottom right (Not important and not urgent. This list should be done every day as items will drop off as they are already done, and items may shift due to timelines. From this point you can decide who can do what. 

Important and urgent 

This may be an order that needs to be placed today or you don’ have inventory for the end of the week. It may be payroll that needs to be processed today so the employees can get paid. These must be handled in a very timely manner, you must devote attention to it, and it can only be done by a few select people (or perhaps just yourself).  

Not important but urgent

These are not vital to your operations but need to get done to keep everything in top shape or keeping your shop on the up and up.  It could be fixing an item like a door handle changing lights that went out or pulling stock from the back room. It’s not generally a very technical job and can be handled by most people. These are things you would first give to shop members quickly at the beginning of the day as items to tackle at first break.  

Important but not urgent

These are things that are vital to the operations but don’t have a deadline of today. Perhaps you need to complete your schedule by Thursday and it is only Tuesday (note that if not done, it will slide to important and urgent by Thursday). These are great training tools for people who are moving up and taking on bigger tasks. You can have them do a mock order/schedule and you can take the time to look at it and fine tune it before it becomes urgent. You have delegated it and now you just have to check it out. 

Not Important and not urgent

Sadly, our day fills with these items and we tend to give them way too much attention. This could be basic upkeep (gardens, painting, organization). These are great for visual appeal and confidence and if you don’t pay attention to them, they can quickly sneak up the square. These are items that everyone can attend to after the rest of the items in their block are completed.  

Using these squares can quickly help you determine what should be done, and who should be doing them. You can assign people to blocks daily so everyone can build and contribute to success or do them yourself and complain about the quality of your team.  

About the Author

Lenny Saucier

LENNY SAUCIER has been serving the automotive aftermarket and its future leaders since 2000. He serves as director of retail training at Fullspeed Automotive. He can be reached at [email protected].

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