What are the 7 tasks you should not be doing as a manager?

Keith Tatley

How to identify what to delegate

What does your to do list look like at the end of the day? Has it got shorter or longer? Sometimes it feels like you’re fighting against the tide. You’re getting work from your own boss, at the same time as managing your employees. Are you neglecting your own important priorities because of work overwhelm? Effective managers don’t do everything themselves. Effective managers focus on their priorities and delegate work they should not be doing to their employees. This article will help you identify the work that you should not be doing so you can start delegating work to turn the tide around.


PS: Delegation is one of those Essential Manager Skills that they just don’t teach you in school. This article contains information from the Ultimate Guide to Delegation.

Related Content:

Delegation to Motivate & Retain your Employees

Did you know that you can use delegation as a tool to motivate and retain your employees? This is because:

  • Your employees like a challenge
  • Your employees want a chance to learn & grow and;
  • Your employees want to be entrusted with responsibilities

If you don’t delegate effectively, then your top talent will leave you to get their growth needs met elsewhere.

Effective managers know how to use delegation as a management tool “to get stuff done”. That’s why delegation is an essential manager skill. But the problem is they don’t teach you how to delegate in school. Following a good delegation process means starting by identifying what to delegate:

How to Identify What to Delegate

Tip: As you read through this list get a pen and paper out to write down these responsibilities. Take a look at your calendar, email and to do list to make sure you don’t miss anything. This list then goes on to your delegation worksheet. (Helpful resource: Delegation worksheet to download from Go1)

1. What tasks can someone else do better than you? AKA what challenges can you solve by asking for help?

Did you get to be a boss because you were good at what you did? What got you here, won’t get you there. The truth is you’re not the expert at everything. The truth is you don’t have the time to “do everything right”. Effective managers know how to use their employees, time, skills and abilities to do a better job than they could do themselves. 

Super Ninja Manager Skills Bonus: Solving problems by asking for help. We’ve all got those lurking demons on our to do lists. Those problems that tend to get pushed back because we aren’t quite sure how we are going to fix them. This is a clear sign that you’re not the best person for the task in question. A great way to solve difficult problems is to talk to your team about the issue and see if any team members have a solution. When you have a particularly difficult assignment, instead of neglecting it, paying it too little attention or having it suck up all of your time. Delegate it to an employee as a stretch assignment. Remember that people like having problems to solve and want to be entrusted with responsibilities.

2. What tasks do you dislike doing that a staff member would prefer doing?

While being a boss is hard, you do get some privileges. One of which is you have the ability to delegate work you don’t like so you can shape your job to be more enjoyable. But this isn’t about abusing your power because the beautiful thing about diversity is that a task that you hate can be done better by someone else.

Personally, I don’t like doing sales and that means I neglect it and I’m not very good at it. That means someone else should do it.

3. What tasks consume a lot of your time?

All tasks are not created equal - some just seem to suck up hours of your day. Every hour a low priority task takes away from your key deliverables means you’re going to be functioning less effectively as a manager.   

On the positive side, you’re the boss which means you have employees to help you to get your work done. Free up a lot of time in one go by delegating time consuming tasks. Even if your employee takes twice as long to do it, you’ve still saved yourself time.

4. What tasks have to be done but aren’t on your key deliverables?

Are you spending enough time on your key deliverables? Or are urgent, low priority tasks getting in the way? The key to success in life and business is to focus on the right things. The most important things for you to focus on are your key deliverables. These are the things that you can make the biggest impact on. These are the things that matter the most.

Don’t fall into the trap of holding onto work because you like it. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to do everything yourself. Prioritise your work into your top priorities and give the rest to your employees.  

Helpful Resource: Now if you’re like many managers who get to the end of a busy day wondering where your time went, then start off by working out what tasks actually take up your time. You can do this with an activity log delegation worksheet to track where you actually spend your time (must be logged into your Go1 portal to view). 

Bonus Time Management Tip: Have the courage to delegate the lowest priority tasks to never-never land.

5. What tasks can contribute to the development of your employees?

This is one of my favourite things to delegate because by moving work around you can create value. Giving challenging assignments to your employees isn’t just a way to get stuff done. It’s also a way to grow your employees’ skills and capabilities. You’ll end up with a better team, ready to take on extra challenges.

Effective managers know that employees get job satisfaction when they learn and grow. 

Helpful Resource: If your employees don’t have the skills & abilities you think they need to take over responsibilities, then you can use coaching as a time saving method to develop their skills.

6. What can your staff do at a lower cost than you?

When you get your management badge, you should also get some extra in your pay packet. But the way you earn a higher salary is by being efficient with money. Put another way, hoping to walk home with a large pay packet is unrealistic if you fill your days with low value added tasks. Being efficient with company resources doesn’t always mean doing everything yourself. Being efficient with company resources means getting the job done at the lowest cost.

Add value by delegating lower value work to more junior (and cheaper) employees and focus on delivering higher value work yourself.

7. What routine tasks can be codified? AKA delegate tasks that are easy to delegate

Sometimes, a barrier to delegation, is the time and effort involved to train your employees sufficiently to support the delegation. Kick start your delegation by delegating the work that is easiest to delegate. The low hanging fruit is work that lends itself to easy codifying.

Secret Ninja Manager Tip: Don’t document your work yourself, request that your employee codify your work as part of the delegation process. The easiest way to do this is to get them to shadow you while you do the task.

Did you know that you can use the Go1 system as a tool to codify, store & deliver standard operating procedures? For each process that needs codifying, you can create an online course showing employees how to do the job.

Delegating Work: Next Steps

Did you make a list of the work you should not be doing? This is the start of your delegation worksheet. The next steps are to:

  1. Change manage delegation into your team by securing employees support of the process
  2. Identify which employees to delegate what work to
  3. Make the delegation by using a proven delegation script
  4. Avoid reverse delegation by using Active Listening Skills to coach your employees to fix their own problems
  5. Keep your delegation on track with Effective Performance Communication

Helpful Reference: Find out how to delegate effectively in the Ultimate Guide to Delegation.

Delegation as a Manager Skill

Managers are responsible for allocating work to the best person for the job. By matching work to skills & availability, you increase the efficiency of an organisation.

Effective managers use delegation to manage their workload, get stuff done and to grow the skills and abilities of their employees.

The role of the manager isn’t to be a superhero and do everything yourself. Being a better boss means improving your manager skills. When you improve your manager skills, you’ll have more work success, happiness and improve your confidence at work. Kickstart your journey to being a better boss by knowing what to delegate and what not to delegate

About the author:

Keith Tatley is a Chartered Accountant and Yoga Teacher. He helps people to have successful and happy careers by showing them the soft skills that people need to be effective in the workplace. For example: How to have One on One Meetings with Employees, One on One Meetings with your Boss. He operates www.ManagerFoundation.com, Karm.Academy and WWW.BOSS.CAMP

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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