How Have You Successfully Delegated Tasks?

Managers have to be cognizant of how work is distributed throughout their team. They need to know the details of who does what and who has authority over final decisions in shared tasks—plus they must make sure that these things are clearly communicated. For example, who needs to see the contents of an email communication before it gets sent out? And does the email manager or communications director have final say if they disagree on something in the message? Hiring managers, in addition to seeing that you understand the importance of role clarity—that workers know what their job is—want to be sure that as manager you don’t attempt to take on the entire workload as a way of making sure it gets done, but rather that you’ll effectively distribute it to your reports.

Your story for answering this question could include what you did at a time when the workload was very heavy and you helped the team distribute the work and collaborate, what you did when there was a gray area as to who did what and how you helped straighten it out, or what you did at a time when a deadline was approaching and the team needed additional resources. Companies also want to see that you work to understand the dynamics of your team—who excels at what tasks, who can handle more work, who needs more time off, and who needs tasks that will challenge them to grow, for example.

Here are some things not to do when answering this question:

  • Complain about a boss who couldn’t delegate
  • Tell stories about how difficult distributing work can be without saying how you’ve solved this problem
  • Fail to acknowledge the complexities that are sometimes involved in delegating