Effective delegation is a highly valued characteristic of leadership and management skills. It may be intuitive – but it can certainly be taught and be learned – and it costs very little more than a manager’s time, determination and enthusiasm.
The benefits of successful delegation
- For the delegatee, it can generate considerable enthusiasm and improve personal ownership and commitment to their usual role.
- Ownership and resolution of problems and difficulties will be shared between delegator and delegatee which, in turn, produces increased personal cooperation and involvement.
- Task results may produce unexpected and unorthodox solutions to issues and may lead to enhanced efficiency, productivity, manpower or financial, contributions to the organisation.
- Individuals will have a vehicle to demonstrate their competence, enthusiasm and commitment.
- Performance of other team members is likely to improve with the realisation that delegation represents trust, acknowledgement of competence and recognition of team roles.
- Team members not involved in a given task may well ask to become involved when future delegated tasks become available.
Some considerations before delegating a task
- It is important to ensure that the task is within the practical, intellectual and educational capability of the delegatee.
- Ensure the task is not selected to create the public failure of the delegatee.
- Ensure they have the time available within normal working hours to complete the task without risking an unfavourable impact on his/her everyday responsibilities.
- It is vital to determine that both the physical and financial resources are available to complete the task (subject to proper justification and authorisation). Pulling the plug on a project midway due to lack of resources will be seen as a management failure by all team members.
- Let other team members see you working with and encouraging the delegatee.
- Agree at the start of the project, the dates and times to review progress and resources. Also offer assistance to overcome roadblocks and reconfirm the completion date.
- Decide on what form of recognition is appropriate on successful completion. In particular, whether public or private acknowledgement of success is appropriate.
Defining the task
For most tasks, the importance of the time spent on producing a sound written brief cannot be overestimated. The brief will be discussed and negotiated between the delegator and delegatee to elaborate on the task and clearly explain the personal expectations and the output performance required.
The brief sets the standard and formalises the task by:
- explaining the intended scope of the activity and the required outcome.
- agreeing to achievable timescales for completion.
- agreeing on the resources that will be made available to support the task.
- agreeing on the important milestones to be achieved by each stage review.
- agreeing the dates of project reviews and how these will be monitored, etc.
- agreeing how the delegatee’s full-time role will be affected and what is still expected of him/her.
For tasks lasting more than one week, the brief, targets and timescales must be confirmed in writing to the delegatee. This document then becomes a useful aide-memoire at task review meetings.
Dedicated and focussed delegation can transform company performance. It can speed up product and personal development. It is also a means of improving job satisfaction and interpersonal relationships by sharing responsibilities and involvement.
If you would like help with how to delegate effectively, please contact us for a free initial discussion. You can send us a message using our ‘Contact Me’ form or call us on 01284 330400.
We work with small to medium size businesses across the East Anglia Region covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
Note: I have used the words Delegator to mean the person managing the brief and the task and Delegatee to refer to the person with the responsibility for completing the task