The Art Of Delegating Like A Fortune 500 CEO

Manavi Agarwal

Last Updated: October 12, 2023
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Have you ever wondered what sets Fortune 500 CEOs apart from the rest of us mere mortals when it comes to running successful organisations? Sure, they might have corner offices with panoramic views and private jets at their disposal, but it’s not just about the perks. It’s about how they manage their time and resources efficiently to steer their companies to greatness. And one of their not-so-secret secrets? The art of delegation.

We’re here to demystify the enigmatic skill of delegation, break it down into bite-sized pieces, and serve it up on a silver platter for you. Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking to up your game or a budding entrepreneur hoping to build an empire, understanding and mastering delegation is your golden ticket.

You might be thinking, “Why do I need to delegate? I can handle everything myself!” Well, while that level of enthusiasm is commendable, it’s not exactly sustainable, nor is it the path to success in today’s complex business landscape. Fortune 500 CEOs didn’t rise to the top by juggling every task single-handedly. They reached the summit by recognising that delegation isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a testament to strategic thinking.

Why Delegation Matters


Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s discuss why delegation is a game-changer for CEOs and, well, anyone striving for success.

  • Time Efficiency: Delegating tasks allows you to focus on high-impact activities that truly require your attention. You can’t be everywhere at once, so entrusting certain responsibilities to others makes your day more efficient.
  • Strategic Thinking: When you’re not bogged down with minutiae, you have the mental bandwidth to engage in strategic thinking. CEOs need this space to set long-term goals and envision the future.
  • Skill Utilisation: Delegating plays to people’s strengths. It ensures that the right person, with the right skills, handles each task, leading to better results.
  • Leadership Development: Delegation fosters the growth of your team members. It empowers them to take ownership and develop their skills, which is essential for a thriving organisation.

Now that we understand why delegation is crucial, let’s explore some fascinating insights into how Fortune 500 CEOs master this art.

How To Delegate Like A Pro

Prioritise Tasks With A ‘Three D’ Approach

Fortune 500 CEOs, with their hectic schedules, employ a clever approach to prioritise tasks: “Do it, Dump it, or Delegate it.”

  • Do it: If a task requires the CEO’s unique expertise or immediate attention, they do it themselves. This ensures that critical matters receive the necessary focus.
  • Dump it: Some tasks simply aren’t worth anyone’s time. CEOs are ruthless about eliminating or automating these low-value tasks to free up their schedule.
  • Delegate it: This is where the magic happens. CEOs delegate tasks to competent team members based on their strengths and skill sets. But there’s a secret sauce here; they delegate not just the task but also the authority and responsibility that come with it.

Know Your Team Inside Out

Understanding your team members’ strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations is a cornerstone of effective delegation. Fortune 500 CEOs make it their business to know their team inside out.

  • Strengths Assessment: They assess team members’ strengths and assign tasks accordingly. For instance, if someone excels in data analysis, they might handle market research tasks.
  • Development Opportunities: CEOs recognise that delegation is also a tool for employee development. They assign tasks that challenge team members and help them grow.

Trust Your Team Implicitly

One thing that sets successful CEOs apart is their trust in their team. They don’t micromanage; they empower. Here’s how they do it:

  • Clear Expectations: CEOs provide crystal-clear instructions and expectations when delegating. This clarity minimises the need for constant check-ins.
  • Open Communication: They maintain open lines of communication. Team members know they can seek guidance when needed, but CEOs avoid hovering over their shoulders.
  • Feedback Loop: Constructive feedback is part of the delegation process. CEOs provide feedback to help team members improve and grow.

Leverage Technology Wisely

Fortune 500 CEOs understand the importance of leveraging technology to streamline delegation. They use innovative tools and platforms to make the process more efficient.

  • Task Management Apps: CEOs often use task management apps like Asana, Trello, or to assign, track, and manage tasks. These tools enhance transparency and accountability.
  • Communication Tools: Video conferencing and messaging apps like Zoom and Slack enable CEOs to stay in touch with their team, no matter where they are.
  • Automation: They embrace automation for routine tasks. From email filters to chatbots, CEOs minimise repetitive work.

The Art Of Saying ‘No’


An often-overlooked aspect of delegation is knowing when to say ‘no.’ Fortune 500 CEOs understand that they can’t do it all, and they’re not afraid to decline additional tasks.

  • Strategic ‘No’: They prioritise their commitments and say ‘no’ strategically to avoid overextending themselves.
  • Delegate the ‘No’: CEOs delegate the responsibility of declining certain requests to their trusted team members. This ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.

Delegate Authority, Not Just Tasks

This is a crucial insight that separates Fortune 500 CEOs from the rest. They don’t just delegate tasks; they delegate authority and responsibility.

  • Empower Decision-Making: CEOs empower their team members to make decisions within their areas of responsibility. This not only speeds up processes but also fosters a sense of ownership.
  • Accountability: When you delegate authority, you also delegate accountability. This motivates team members to take ownership of their tasks and deliver results.

Continuous Improvement

Fortune 500 CEOs never stop refining their delegation skills. They actively seek feedback from team members and reflect on their own performance.

  • Feedback Loop: They encourage team members to provide feedback on the delegation process. This helps in identifying areas for improvement.
  • Self-Reflection: CEOs take time to reflect on their delegation practices. They ask themselves, “What worked well? What could be done better?”

Flexibility In Delegation Styles

Finally, successful CEOs understand that one-size-fits-all delegation doesn’t work. They adapt their delegation style based on the task, the team member, and the situation.

  • Direct Delegation: For critical tasks, CEOs may directly delegate to a trusted team member with clear instructions.
  • Consultative Delegation: In situations where input from multiple team members is valuable, they use a more consultative approach, seeking input before making a decision.
  • Delegation by Objectives: For long-term projects, CEOs often delegate by setting clear objectives and allowing team members to determine the best way to achieve them.

Mentoria’s Key To Success

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So there you have it – the secrets of delegation that can elevate you to the level of a Fortune 500 CEO. Learning to let go and entrust others with responsibilities is a skill that can make or break a career. By honing this skill, you not only alleviate your workload but also empower your team, fostering a culture of trust and growth.

But remember, you don’t have to go on this journey alone. Just as Fortune 500 CEOs have their advisors and mentors, you too can benefit from expert guidance. That’s where Mentoria comes in. Our dedicated team of career counsellors understands the intricacies of delegation and leadership. We offer personalised coaching and resources to help you become a delegation maestro, guiding your team to success while propelling your own career forward.