Definition: Assigning responsibility and authority to someone in order to complete a clearly defined and agreed upon task while you retain ultimate responsibility for its success.




Use the SMARTER acronym when considering delegating a task:

  • Specific – make sure the task is defined and clear
  • Measurable – make sure progress and outcome are measurable
  • Agreed – be sure to gain agreement from the delegated individual
  • Realistic – match skill with tasks; only delegate assignments that can be accomplished
  • Time bound – be clear about timeframe of the task
  • Ethical – never delegate a task you would be unwilling to do yourself
  • Recorded – keep records of delegated tasks in order to track progress/ accountability

Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too.” Robert Half – American businessman


Self-Directed Learning Activities


Relevant Readings:

·         Delegation (PDF)

·         Delegation (PDF)

·         Successful Delegation (PDF)



·         Allen, D. (2003). Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity. New York: Penguin Books.

·         Bossidy, L., & Charan, R. (with Burck, C.). (2002). Execution: The discipline of getting things done. New York: Crown Business.

·         Burns, R. (2001). Making delegation happen: A simple and effective guide to implementing successful delegation. Crows Nest, AU: Allen & Unwin.

·         Dittmer, R. E., & McFarland, S. (2008). 151 Quick ideas for delegating and decision making. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press.



·         Smart Task Form (Delegation_PPT)




Self-Guided Activities:


·         Identify Your Barriers (DOC)



Guided Learning Activities



·         Volunteer to lead a project at work, use the SMART task sheet (LINK) to plan and track delegated assignments.  Use one of the Learning Journals to reflect after practicing delegation.

o   Meet with your supervisor

·         Consider how your supervisor delegates work to you and others; use the SMART task sheet to track the tasks that have been delegated to you. Review this sheet with your supervisor and discuss the delegation process- are there areas for improvement? Are there skills or abilities you might be able to develop through delegation?

·         If you don’t have the opportunity to lead an assignment at work, think of how you might delegate tasks outside of work with your family, church, or sports group. Do you follow the SMARTER acronym? Use one of the Learning Journals to reflect after practicing delegation.


Formal Training/Education


School and Course Module(s):

·         Laramie County Community College: MGT 1000 INTRODUCTION TO SUPERVISION

o   Students acquire techniques to improve or establish themselves as first-line supervisors. The student will understand and be able to apply basic management principles in solving problems encountered by first-line supervisors. Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL 0810 or equivalent placement test score.

·         Northwest College: MGT 1000 - Introduction to Supervision

o   Students acquire knowledge and skills used in supervision, organization, time management, decision-making, and information management. Students work with practical applications that reinforce the theory. Through comprehensive cases and illustrations, students examine the interrelationship of key supervisory management principles. (3 hrs lec)

·         Eastern Wyoming Community College:  MGT 1000 Introduction to Supervision

o   This course seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic concepts of supervision, to include planning, organizing, human resources management, directing, and controlling. Topics covered also include motivation, delegation, leadership, communications, team-building, total quality management, and discipline. The course should assist one to acquire the skills necessary


Law Enforcement Specific: