Do you know when to delegate?

Last updated on October 6th, 2022 by

Does it ever seem like you have a surplus of ideas, but a shortage of results? Maybe you have a well-formulated plan to improve your online exposure, but there is so much to learn to be able to do it yourself? Or maybe you have a plan that you can execute, but you don’t know how to track bottom-line results?

Ali Rowghani, a former executive at Twitter and Pixar, identifies how a CEO’s role changes over 3 phases of business growth. The first critical transition for a leader is moving from doer-in-chief to delegator-in-chief. Or put another way, maximizing your productivity doesn’t scale your business, building teams does.


“The first critical transition for a leader is moving from doer-in-chief to delegator-in-chief.”


But delegating is hard. You won’t have the same control over everything. It won’t be done your way – like it always has been. The quality of work won’t always meet your standards. You need to change from the person that can do it all, to the person that can teach your skills to your team.

Even if you aren’t a CEO, this lesson applies to you and your direct reports. We’ll talk about 2 leadership tiers and how each tier can delegate to a team.

But first, let’s talk about limits.

Know Your Limits 

Maximizing yourself doesn’t scale a business, it creates burnout.

You’re probably a high performer and the most productive person in the company. There’s a good chance that your talents and skills expand well beyond your job title. Isn’t that how you got to where you are? You’re a great doer-in-chief. 

When it comes to building your online presence, there are many platforms that will used in your marketing strategy. There are multiple channels to manage, audiences to engage with, metrics to track, and content to create for each. It also requires specialized knowledge that you likely will need to develop. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn it all. 

Developing teams scale businesses.

You have the vision, but the people around you have the time. Develop them. You will have fears about the speed and quality of work without you. Add value by casting vision and leading your team to work to your standards, faster.

Understanding your limits will give you the confidence to delegate.


Maybe you’re a CEO wearing a bunch of hats or maybe you’re a marketing manager that has all the skills. Delegating looks different depending on what role you play in your company. Next we’ll talk about each of these roles and how each needs to give definition and set expectations.


Company Leadership – Owners, CEOs, CMOs 


Define Bottom Line Expectations 

Before you start spending money on marketing, take the time to clearly define what success means. It could be defined in terms of leads generated, deals closed, or visitors to your website. Success must come back to the broader company goals and revolve around your bottom line: Profit. Without defining success and having a system in place to measure it you’ll never know if your investment is worth it. 


Define Roles & Responsibilities 

Empower your team by delegating specific performance responsibilities. This gives team members an aim and a sense of ownership in the campaign. When you tell your team exactly what you want it gives them a shot at delivering for you. Don’t be vague. And ask them to repeat it back to you to ensure you’re all on the same page.

Know When to Outsource 

If you don’t have a marketing manager or a dedicated internal team, the fastest way to get up to speed is by hiring an agency. Agencies are diverse teams of experts who specialize in their field. Just like you, they’ve studied and developed their skills their whole lives, they have the staffing and industry-specific tools needed to get projects going full speed quickly. When your team doesn’t have the capacity and you need to get going fast, hire an agency.

The Marketing Manager 

If you are a marketing manager your decisions will look a lot different from the CEO. As the person directly responsible for the day-to-day operations of marketing your primary goal is to keep everyone focused on the plan and the key performance indicators. This creates a culture focused on results and gives team members something to use to measure the success of their efforts. 

Give Clear Instructions 

Make sure to provide detailed instructions for every task you delegate. “Manage the email list” is not clear delegation. Give details on what successful management looks like by clearly defining expectations and outcomes for the email list. Do your customers do different things based on industry? If so, create user personas so the email list can be tailored to each segment.

Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you need, but you can still set good boundaries and define what you do know. If you need your team to define something, tell them.

Set deadlines and ask for deadlines. Deadlines are the catalyst for getting things done. 

Use a System 

The most effective way to delegate in the digital age is by using project management tools. Nothing keeps projects organized and on task like a good project management platform. Try any of these: 

  • Trello – Create a workflow or delegate using color-coded cards and boards 
  • Basecamp – Great for uploading files and assigning tasks 
  • Slack – Great for messaging and likely integrates into your other management tools
  • Asana – Designed for managing complex projects with growing teams

Trust Your Team 

After you’ve delegated a task, let your team work in the weeds. Resist the temptation to be the doer-in-chief. They won’t solve problems as fast as you or in the same way as you. But you may be surprised to find innovative ideas rise up if you are patient. Let them get into the work and solve problems for you. 



Whether you’re a CEO, owner, or marketing manager, scaling means you must transition from doer-in-chief to delegator-in-chief. Your time can’t scale. Discovering your limits will give you the confidence you need to make that transition.  Your new role as a business leader is to empower your staff to also make decisions within their area of expertise – and trust them to solve problems for you.