Becoming an efective delegator

Delegation can be the most important management tool that you use. Good delegation can save you invaluable time, motivate your employees and help them develop to the benefit of your business. Poor delegation can cause frustration, act as a de-motivator and confuse people. It is clear that, used effectively; delegating can be of huge positive influence to your company, however, when it is not developed adequately, delegation, as a management tool, may have adverse effects on a business.

Successful delegation needs planning, thought and managerial skill. The following guidelines may help you plan your delegation process effectively.

  1. Define what task is being delegated- ensure that this task is a suitable job to be delegated to a subordinate.
  2. Select who you will delegate the task to. Ensure that you asses your reasons for delegating to this person or team and be explicit in what you will get out of it and what the person or team will gain from it. Communication is key.
  3. Assess the ability of the person or team to whom the task is delegated. Will they need additional training? Do they fully understand what the task entails? If they don’t, then you may have to rethink the delegation of the task.
  4. Explain why the task is being delegated and why the person or people have been picked. Make sure that the subordinates understand the relevance in the overall scheme of the business and to themselves.
  5. State the required results. Negotiate how the task will be measured and make sure you know how you intend to decide whether the job is being performed well or not
  6. Consider what is required for the job such as people, location and additional resources
  7. Make sure to agree deadlines and targets
  8. Support the subordinates and ensure to facilitate communication
  9. It is also essential to provide feedback, to let the person know how they are doing and whether they have achieved their aims

Delegation is a far cry from just telling people what to do. There is a wide rang a varying freedom that delegation can give people. The more experienced and reliable the person, the more freedom they can have. The more critical a task, the more cautious you as a manager must be when delegating.

There is no delegation in telling an employee to follow instructions precisely.

Joint decisions allow more delegation, an employee can look into an issue and manager and employee can decide course of action together.

Complete delegation comes when a manager instructs an employee to decide and take action on task and to let him/her know what happens. Or passing over the area to the employee fully and giving them full responsibility.

Benefits of delegation include:

  • Higher quality of work- employees who have direct knowledge of an area can complete tasks
  • Quality increases as does employee motivation
  • Well developed staff members through increased responsibilities and accountability
  • More job enrichment and motivation
  • Managers have more time on their hands and can focus on other tasks
  • Managers are respected by their staff and they can work in harmony.

    Those who don’t delegate:

  • Lack of motivation of a manager and the mentality that ‘if you want something done, you must do it yourself’, can lead to a lack of delegation and employees with little responsibility and job motivation
  • A manager may not trust subordinates enough and this affects the business culture as a whole
  • Managers often veer away from delegation as they have a fear of being regarded as lazy.
  • Managers who are reluctant to take risks often do not practice delegation

    Where delegation can go wrong

  • The wrong tasks are delegated
  • The wrong person or people are chosen for the tasks
  • Inadequate direction is given by the manager

    Done correctly, delegation can be immensely beneficial to a company. However, improper and poorly planned delegation can have negative effects such as reduced productivity, lack of quality and frustration. By following the points outlined above, managers can help themselves avoid common pitfalls and free up time for other activities to improve their business. Delegation can be of major benefit to a company when used correctly. It is a management tool that should be utilised and acted upon in order for managers to gain the best results from their businesses and their employees.


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