Delegation & Supervision Book Review

By: Brian Tracy


Delegation Book Cover

I am actively looking to improve my delegation skills. I did some research and found Brian Tracy’s book recommended on a couple of websites. It has great reviews on Amazon so I gave it a go.

I found this book to be okay. I was overcomplicating delegation but the book seems to wander and hit on a variety of topics. I wish it would have taught a bullet proof framework backed with science.

If you are looking for a high level overview of delegation with a few practical tips, then this book might be worth a spot on your book shelf.

Here are some notes I took while reading.

The Starting Point Of Delegation

Ask the right questions

  1. What am I trying to do?
  2. How am I trying to do it?
  3. Could there be a better way?

Start off by thinking about your situation today, where you want to be in the future, and the very best way that you can get there.

This quote popped into my mind,

We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

— Albert Einstein

It’s important that you assess whether the person is skilled or competent enough to delegate the task. You will want to avoid “abdicating” by making sure you aren’t setting someone up to fail on something that is too difficult or complicated for them to solve.

The Importance Of Clarity In Delegation

In order to properly delegate a task you first must be crystal clear on what you are asking to be done. Next, the person you are delegating to must be just as clear on what needs to be done.

When people are unclear or unsure about what you want, they will tend to hold back rather than make a mistake. They will waste their time and spin their wheels.

— Brian Tracy pg. 18

As a leader it is our job to make sure everyone is clear of what is expected of them and in what order of priority.

The biggest insight for me is that it takes time to properly plan to delegate. You must create the time so you are clear on what needs done.

Set Standards

The rule is “what get’s measured gets done”.

Post the numbers and metrics that you have deemed the standard. Make it clear what everyone should strive for. In order to motivate your team to reach these standards you must,

  1. Set clear goals, objectives, and key result areas
  2. Clear standards of measurement
  3. Success experiences – the feeling and fact of actually completing the job to a high standard
  4. Recognition from the boss, and from other people
  5. Rewards that are directly tied to excellent performance of the business task.

MBO (Management By Objective

MBO is broken down into the following steps

  1. Discussion builds commitment – regularly talk about what needs to be accomplished.
  2. Agree on the steps to be followed – you must have an agreed-upon plan.
  3. Regularly evaluate and compare – once the task is delegated you must regularly check-in to ensure they are on-track to the agreed-upon plan.

Biggest Insights

There are numerous steps a leader must take to properly delegate. If you are not clear on the steps and skip one or two you will likely see poor results.

My biggest takeaway from this book is that it’s a good idea to publish the steps I will personally take to properly delegate tasks to my team.

I will need to hold myself accountable and be disciplined to following each step every time.

If tasks that are delegated aren’t completed I must review where in the process the communication broken down and adjust my process.

It’s clear to me that delegating a task is the transfer of authority and responsibility but not ownership. The leader still ultimately owns the finally outcome of the delegation process.