A good manager knows that the work is best done when he or she can share the responsibility with others. Micromanaging your team can suffocate them, and too little management would leave the team in the dark. Hence, this is where the importance of delegation comes into play. A good leader would assign the task to his team along with the broad vision and clarity of the work involved. Delegation is the process of shifting authority of a task or activity from a person (usually a manager or leader) to another person. Here, you will go through the importance of delegation in leadership and what are the various steps in a delegation of authority.
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What Delegation Does Not Mean
Some could misunderstand the meaning of delegation as just disowning responsibilities. Let us clear the misconceptions around delegation and understand what delegation does not mean:
Delegation is not about surrendering one’s responsibility and dumping it on another. It is about spreading it out to people in a way that is in the best interest of the company’s long and short-term goals.
Delegation does not tell people exactly what to do and how to do it. In delegation, the leader would explain the outcomes and results that the team is expected to achieve. The team can then decide the best course of action to reach those goals.
The delegation will change depending on the situation. It means there are a lot of factors that go into determining what to delegate, when to delegate, etc. It needs planning, time, and effort to figure all this out.
Delegation is not a sign of weakness on the leader’s part. Instead, it means that you are strong enough to identify and delegate projects which best suits a specific team. It does good to you, the team, and the organization on the whole.
Importance of Delegation in Management
The very first thing that delegation brings to the table is that leaders can focus on high-value activities and be more productive with their time. There are certain tasks that only leaders can perform like coaching the team in which delegation lets them do with more focus. The importance of effective delegation can be understood from the points discussed below:
Prioritization of tasks gains priority - In the process of delegation, managers understand what can be delegated and what can not. This way, they can prioritize tasks and determine who can do the delegated tasks. Based on factors like time sensitivity, importance, routine, etc., leaders can effectively delegate tasks.
Employees feel empowered - By taking on new work, employees feel empowered, and they can showcase many aspects of their capabilities. They get more invested in their work as the decision-making lies with them now. The importance of delegation of power can be seen by an overall deep sense of engagement and commitment amongst employees.
Supports the development of new skills - The importance of delegation in an organization is also about new skills being built across the firm. The team leaders, along with their direct reports, start taking responsibility for the outcome of every task. An effective delegation builds competencies and accountability in employees.
Steps of Delegation of Authority
Choose the appropriate task to delegate - This is done by splitting up upcoming tasks into various categories like
urgent (and important)
non-urgent (and important),
urgent (and not important)
non-urgent (and not important).
Once you have done that you must choose to delegate tasks that fall in urgent (and not important) and non-urgent (and not important) since you do not need to spend your precious time on these tasks. The first two categories would require more planning, but they can be delegated too.
Decide Who to Delegate to
Here you will have to consider the following aspects in determining the right person for the delegate job:
Experience and skills of an individual
The existing workload of the person.
Who will be able to develop new skills by delegating the current task?
What is the preference or working style of the individual?
You must consider that delegation benefits you as well as the person you choose to delegate the work to.
Plan and Set Clear Objectives
Objectives set must be measurable, time-bound, specific, and realistic. You need to provide all the information to the person the task is being delegated to. The person must also be granted the necessary authorities and resources required to carry out the tasks.
Implementation of Delegation
In this step, you gain the commitment of the individual for the work being delegated. You would need to do the following:
Ask them open questions to ensure they have the correct understanding of the work and are committed to it.
Get an understanding of how they feel about the work and what approach are they going to take to go forward with the activity.
Agree on a timeframe for the completion of the task.
Explain to them the consequences of not completing the job on time.
Delegation must be monitored by the manager through informal chats or regular reviews. You must also be available to support the team as and when they need it.
Once the task is over, evaluate and review it with feedback to the team. Constructive feedback is very vital for the development of the team. Feedback must be given sensitively using coaching models like the GROW model.
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FAQs on Importance of Delegation and Steps in Delegation
Q1. What are the Characteristics of Delegation?
Ans: The following properties characterize delegation:
It is a process in which some of the powers of a manager are handed over to their subordinates.
The person delegating work must have the authority to do so.
Subordinates are delegated only a part of the authority and not the entire thing.
The manager who is delegating can reduce, take back, or even enhance the purview of the delegated tasks. Even though work is delegated, the manager has full control over the activities of his/her subordinates.
Delegation happens only of authority and not of responsibilities. If a manager delegates authorities to carry out work to his/her subordinates, it does not mean he can abdicate his responsibilities too.
Q2. What are the Different Elements of Delegation?
Ans: Delegation has the following three elements:
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Assignment of responsibility - The first step in delegation is assigning a job to the subordinate. It is the description of the role that is assigned to the individual.
Grant of authority - The next element is granting authority to the delegated person. To accomplish the task, the manager gives certain rights to the subordinate without which the individual cannot complete the task. It is the power to command, which enables the individual to discharge his responsibilities.
Creation of accountability - Accountability means that the subordinate is obliged to perform the duties that have been assigned to him. Accountability is the by-product of the above two elements, i.e. the assignment of task and granting authority.