Knowing When to Delegate: The 70% Rule of Delegation

04 January 2024 by Shweta Jhajharia

In a recent article, we discussed the Key Principles of Effective Delegation and developing the correct mindset about delegation of tasks.

The next stage to this is to understand when there is a need to delegate and how this can be determined. That is what I will be exploring this week, using a simple framework that I follow myself.

There are two elements to task delegation, these are:

Individual readiness: what is the skill level of the person you will be delegating to? And how willing would they be to do so?

Task importance or urgency: how important is it that this task is completed sooner rather than later? Is it something that can wait or does it need to be completed as soon as possible?

Given a scenario, where you have a list of tasks to complete and you are stuck with what to delegate, you can use these factors, in a simple framework, to help determine which tasks can be assigned to another team member and which should stick with you.

High Urgency | Low Skill: When a task falls in this quadrant you should not be delegating. It doesn’t make sense to give this task to someone else to complete as the urgency and the skill level do not match and it would only end in frustration for yourself and the team member involved.

Low Urgency | High Skill: In this case, there is plenty of time available and the skill level of the person involved more than matches that which is required for the completion of the task. You can safely delegate here and trust the team member to get it done effectively and on time.

The remaining two quadrants need a bit more thought behind them to determine whether you should delegate the task or not. In the majority of cases, you should delegate but keep a close eye on the task and monitor progression. It is not a case of micro-managing but you need to make sure there are forums where you can keep track of developments.

Ultimately, you need to have a very clear understanding of where you are with your team and where the majority of tasks sit in this framework. If there is a problem with skill level, perhaps there is further training required for team members. Alternatively, if you are finding an issue with willingness, it could be that it is something you are doing wrong in communicating the tasks effectively or that the team isn’t motivated in the right way.

You can read more about the 6 steps to improving team performance in another of our recent articles.

Essentially, the key here is that you should only be doing, what only you can do. The peak of your performance is where you are adding the most value with the tasks you are undertaking. If something you are regularly doing takes time away from more important tasks, consider where it needs to be delegated to someone else.

The 70% Rule of Delegation

The rule is simple:

If the other person can complete the task at least 70% as well as you can, you should delegate it to them.

This allows proactive delegation to occur and for tasks to still be completed to an acceptable level.

You should understand that there might be a drop in performance but that 30% can be sacrificed for the benefit of the business, which can keep ticking over at an acceptable level.

It is important to separate your ego from the business because success will not come from perfecting the performance of any single individual, it will come from investing the best time and resource possible into the business as a whole.

If you find it difficult to delegate, there is no shame in that. It is a genuine skill people need to work on. Get in touch with us if you would like to discuss this or any other area of your business, management, or leadership.

We have years of experience in helping trade contracting and sub-contracting businesses grow. Get in contact today and start your businesses growth journey.


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Shweta Jhajharia

Shweta Jhajharia is one of the leading authorities on Business Value Building and the creator of the unique 6M Model. Shweta is widely respected as an impactful, intelligent and results orientated professional who helps business leaders unleash their potential to reach meaningful, higher objectives. This realisation of potential and maximisation... Read more