Delegation Skills: How To Use The SMART System

Wooden blocks spelling DelegateWhile most managers realise that part of the skills they should possess is delegation, not all know how to do so successfully.

While there are many benefits to good delegation, such as empowering staff and lessening your own workload, poor delegation can create chaos and confusion.

In order to delegate effectively, you can utilise the SMART System, which we will explore in this article.

The SMART System is an acronym; for a delegated task to be properly completed, the benchmarks in this acronym should be followed:

Specific – For your staff to truly comprehend what it is you need them to do, and for you to measure how well they did, you should provide specific tasks instead of general ones. Instead of asking an employee to provide you with your media coverage, for example, use specifics, such as finding your media coverage from the last quarter, and only about a specific product launch.

Measurable – This part goes right along with being specific; as a manager, you will need to track and measure how well your staff members complete tasks. When you give specific instructions for doing so, you should be able to measure whether the individual is on track to meet the goal. This information will be essential during employee appraisals, when you will need to provide detailed data about their performance.

Achievable – Before delegating a certain task, you need to consider whether that task is achievable. Does the employee have the knowledge, skills, training, resources and confidence to achieve it? If the answer is no to any one of these criteria, then you will simply be setting up your staff to fail.

Relevant – Although you may have a lot on your plate, you should carefully think about what you assign to your staff. While you may need help on a personal task in order to focus on your professional responsibilities, delegating that task to an employee may not be in the best interest of the employee, the team and the organisation. Make sure that the items delegated are part of the employee’s job description, lest he or she get frustrated that you are constantly asking them to do your personal errands.

Time-Bound – This criterion stresses the importance of providing a time frame on any assigned task. Otherwise, confusion will ensue if you expected the goal to be completed at the end of the business day, but your team member put it aside in a pile to be done later.

While delegation is necessary to run an organised workplace, managers need to know how to effectively delegate. Using the SMART System provides a benchmark for how to do so successfully.

For some additional help on delegation skills I’ve written a guide on the 5 Principles Of Delegating Tasks. These will really help you to break down the process of delegation. If you also find it difficult to delegate then How To Solve The Main Delegation Problems That Exist will help you further to overcome any difficulties that you might be facing.

How to improve your delegation skills is a module within our FREE Online Management Course. There are 5 modules in total. Please sign up to the course today if you’d like some formal training on the topic.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

Personal Development Hub

Please click below for other relevant personal development tips and advice.
Our personal development hub contains useful techniques and
strategies to improve your skills as a manager.

LeaderDNA button

Updated on: 11 January, 2016

Related Articles

Arrow down

Search For More arrow