7 Tips for Better Delegation

Delegation is a skill; you must practice getting it right. Here are seven tips to help the delegation in your practice hum along.


5 min read

Micah Shilanski
Micah Shilanski
Financial Planner, CFP®

“Let’s go to Vegas this weekend, and we’ll play the slots and lose everything.”

If this sounds like a ridiculous proposition to you—you’re right. It’s a foolish idea. 

But do you find yourself doom-scrolling your social accounts, getting buried in your email, or wasting hours booking travel? 

If you are playing office and not getting any real, meaningful work done, what you’re wasting is more valuable than the money you’d lose during an inebriated weekend in Nevada.  

Do you realize that you can always make that money back if you swindle your fortune? But when you waste your time, it’s gone forever.  

You’ll never get that minute, that hour, that day back. Ever. It’s gone. There are no do-overs with time. You can’t get more. 

While you can’t get more time, you can use the 24 hours you get each day more effectively. One way to do that is to delegate tasks to other capable team members. 

Here are our top tips to help your delegation run a little smoother. 

1. Live and die by the $1,000/hr rule. 

Time can’t technically be “saved.” You can’t save time in a jar for a rainy day, hide it under your mattress, or cash in for more at the bank. However, you can be more effective in using your daily allotment. 

Let’s be honest; you have the exact amount of time each day as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. The difference between you and those guys is how they use their time. 

To help you measure your success, one of the tenants of the Perfect RIA is that you must make $1,000 an hour. When making decisions with your time, you need to either engage with your family or engage in activities that generate $1,000 an hour.  

If a task is not worth $1,000 an hour, you need to delegate that task pronto

2. You can “buy” time.

Even if your practice burns to the ground and you go bankrupt, you can always make more money. And by outsourcing, you can essentially buy more time

If you’re sick of your schedule and the overwhelm that comes from the fallout of trying to jam 36 hours worth of work into a 24-hour day, it’s time to delegate. And you need to start today. 

Take extreme ownership of your over-booked schedule and start delegating out those simple tasks that eat at you

For example, it was imperative to Matt that he send out birthday cards to his nieces and nephews. He wasn’t getting it done, and it was nagging at him. Sending birthday cards is simple, making his failure even more frustrating. Matt decided to delegate sending birthday cards to his assistant. 

Everyone could get their cards on time, and Matt felt better because his delegation freed up valuable brain space for more pressing problems. 

3. If the delegation is crappy, it’s because you’re a crappy delegator.

I would delegate that, but they’d do an awful job because they’re incompetent.” 

“They don’t know what they’re doing.” 

“It takes them two whole hours to do a task I can do in 20 minutes—what a waste of time!”

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to take Extreme Ownership and recognize that the delegation sucks because you’re bad at it

You need to take a good hard look at how the processes and systems are failing the delegation. Remember, you are the systems and processes in your business. Start by asking your assistant what they need from you to do the task correctly

4. The best time to start delegating is now. 

Don’t wait to delegate until you have all of your ducks in a row—you can’t control the chaos until you start to get some of those pressing tasks off your plate

Let me tell you a little secrete: everyone screws up delegating at first. Before you can get good at anything, you must first be bad at it. 

The sooner you start delegating, the faster you’ll get better at it. Delegation is like any other skill: the more you do, the better you’ll get, but you can’t get better unless you delegate.  

The best way to improve a delegation is to take notes from your assistant and ask

“Allison, listen, I’m no good at delegating. Here’s what I need to be done. Please tell me what you need to start.”

5. Delegate to a brain, not a task-doer.  

You want the person you’re delegating to be empowered to make decisions, not check boxes and get back to you

Say you ask your assistant to build a webpage. Give them the power to call the shots, so they aren’t coming back to you to pick the webpage designer, layout, color scheme, etc. Let them handle that. 

Let your assistant own the project and ask them what they need from you

You won’t get back what you envisioned for the task the first few times—and this is great! You’ll be reminded that your assistant isn’t telepathic, and you’ll get to sharpen your delegation skills. 

Explain your needs better during the next project, and keep going. Eventually, your assistant will learn your preferences and be able to do the task without anything from you. 

6. Give it three months. 

It takes time to build a solid delegation system. You won’t suddenly have ten free hours each week because you have given the task of billing someone else. 

You must invest heavily in those first few weeks to train your assistant. You will answer many questions, and the more available you are in the beginning, you’ll both be better off. 

7. Set aside time to check-in. 

Yes, you want to be available during the first few weeks of a delegation—but you don’t want to be bombarded by a constant stream of questions

This defeats the whole purpose. 

Instead of being readily available, schedule a date and time to discuss any questions. This will save your sanity and keep new tasks from running off the rails and crashing into a fiery heap. 

Ask them to keep a bulleted list of their questions and hold them until their next call with you. When you meet next, go down that list and answer everything. 

Action Item

Delegation is a central tenet of the Perfect RIA. Surge meetings, vacation time, and everyday office systems depend on delegating. If you’re slow to get on the delegation wagon, pick a task to delegate today and make it happen. 

For those already delegating, tease out an aspect of your delegation that you can improve. 

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