There are two types of delegation.
The first is the type of delegation are all born knowing how to do. This is the type of delegation where you tell people exactly what to do and how to do it. Little children do this instinctively with their friends and siblings, and they drive each other crazy doing it. We call this “being bossy.”
The second is a much more challenging type of delegation called stewardship. When you delegate in this way, you explain in detail all of the required outcomes of the task being delegated while leaving freedom to the delegatee as to the means of achieving the required outcomes.
In my experience, most people are naturally pretty poor at this type of delegation. It’s not easy to do, thinking of the outcomes you want but granting freedom as to the methods. I figure this has something to do with why this type of delegation is so rare.
Ironically, almost everyone who assigns a task hopes the results will exceed their expectations. But since they usually delegate the job by specifying exactly how they expect it to be done, how can the person receiving the task hope to do any better than to meet expectations alone?
If you hope to have your expectations exceeded, your only hope is to give a stewardship. Unless you offer the freedom afforded by a true stewardship, you really can’t hope for much more than for the job to be done exactly like you specified. It’s tough for anyone to exceed expectations in that environment.