The Four Levels of Delegation

In the previous post, we discussed the inevitable organizational and personal outcomes when leaders refuse to delegate.

No leader wants to be the lid for their organization, experience burnout from attempting to manage it all, and see their staff teams flee to better opportunities. However, leaders who are unwilling or unable to delegate will experience it all, and more.

If you’re unwilling to delegate, I can’t help you.

If you are unable, I’ve got great news: Leaders who learn to give away specific responsibility and authority unleash their organization and the leaders within.

Specific responsibility and authority is the secret to effective delegation.

“Go take care of that…” isn’t specific.

To become an effective delegating leader, use this leveled approach with your staff.

Level 1 – Investigation

“All I want you to do is research and report back.”

Level 2 – Informed Progress

“I’d love for you to complete this task or project, but check-in along the way as you make progress.”

Level 3 – Informed Results

“I’d love for you to complete this task or project. Just let me know when it’s finished.”

Level 4 – Ownership

“Take this project and run with it.”

When I say “use,” I literally mean say, “This is a Level 3 delegation. Do you have any questions?”

The level approach to delegation automatically gives responsibility and authority clarity. A Level 1 delegation dictates the responsibility is to research, investigate, and report back. But there is limited needed authority as there is no implementation. A Level 4 delegation is equally specific, giving the person clarity on the responsibility (own the project entirely) and authority (you have the power to own the project altogether).

Without these levels, it becomes nearly impossible to provide specific responsibility and authority. And without specific responsibility and authority, delegation becomes a massive frustration.

Those are the Levels of Delegation. Now, what are the steps to begin delegating? We’ll cover that in the following article.

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2 Responses

    1. Thanks, Jeremy. Learning to effectively delegate is one of the most important leadership lessons I’ve ever encountered. Hope you are great.

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