To Delegate, Or Not To Delegate: That Is The Question

Delegation is the hardest skill for any manager to learn. “If I delegate, things will be out of my control. I don’t want mistakes. I can do it all myself. It is easier to do it myself then explain it to someone else.”   Fear can be a hindrance for managers to effectively delegate. But it should not be…

The definition of delegation is:

Delegation (also called deputation) is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. However the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work. Delegation empowers a subordinate to make decisions….Delegation, if properly done, is not abdication. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction, and review of delegated work.

Delegation is important because it:

  • It enables the manager to spend more time on more important tasks.
  • It is a good way of developing staff that wish to move up in the company.
  • If done effectively can be highly motivational.

When is the proper time to delegate? You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can someone else perform this task, or is it critical that you do it yourself?
  • Does the task provide opportunities to grow and develop another person’s skills?
  • Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively?
  • Is this a task that I should delegate?

Steps to effective delegation:

  • Know what you want or can delegate
  • Clearly express your objectives
  • Set expectations
  • Have confidence in that person’s abilities
  • Communicate and follow up

Remember, “No manager is an island”. Effective delegation will help you achieve a work-life balance and will allow you to become a more productive leader. It also gives your staff the opportunity to prove themselves and gain the necessary confidence to succeed. In the end, proper delegation is a “win-win” for everyone involved.