To delegate means to transfer responsibility or entrust a task to another, most usually junior personnel. The act of delegating assists in moving responsibility from the senior to subordinates to enable the senior personnel to focus more on crucial responsibilities.
Delegation allows leaders to focus on tasks that they are more efficient at performing while utilizing the pool of human capital resources available at their disposal to handle matters which would then build their capabilities as well.
In business management, delegating is referred to as the sharing act of sharing and transferring responsibilities between a superior, which could be an employer, and a subordinate which could be an employee.
The skill of delegation is crucial to supervisors at any level and could pose a challenge to learn to most managers.
The challenge mostly stems from the fear of losing control or lack of faith in the capabilities of the subordinate to deliver.
However, a good business manager understands that delegation is important for the success of any organization, especially for those who operate in teams, and trust is the convincing factor that guarantees the success of authority delegation.
The Importance of Delegating
The importance of delegation on the success of any organization cannot be overemphasized as it enables management to run the business while building trust in the organization effectively.
Below is the importance of delegation of tasks and responsibilities.
- Team Empowerment
- Encouragement of Creativity
- Leadership Succession
- Strengthening of Organization
One of the best importance of delegation is delineating tasks amongst the people who function in the organization.
For example, a CEO is not expected to conduct administrative task(s); hence he is expected to delegate the task to his subordinate, who would become more efficient in conducting the tasks.
The effect of delegation is that it would also save personal stress.
Another importance of delegating functions is that it assists in developing others; by delegating tasks to someone who is not well versed in doing the tasks, the delegation would ensure that they have to take on the responsibility and develop along the way.
Hence delegation serves as a means of coaching and teaching others.
People are gifted with different skills and expertise, with everyone having a certain field in which they excel perfectly, therefore when you find someone capable of doing or performing a function better than you makes for a win-win situation.
The result is that you get the job done well while the other party to whom the task has been delegated gets an opportunity to grow his abilities and take on more responsibilities.
It is worthy of note that delegation is a perfect way to develop the capacity of others and ensures that they feel valuable to the organization as a whole.
Delegation of authority helps to encourage job satisfaction as there is a developed sense of shared responsibility that breaks the monotony of the subordinate’s routine, which could lead to development and improvement on the job.
When delegation is done effectively, it gives subordinates a chance to have a sense of accomplishment. They derive pleasure in seeing the team grow and succeed, knowing that they have contributed their quota.
Encouragement of Creativity
The delegation of tasks and responsibilities helps to promote an “inclusive culture in the organization where a high number of people think about better ways to solve an issue.
Delegation assists in bolstering the team development as everyone proffers different points of view about the issues, which ensures that not only one person works on resolving an issue as everyone is involved in the decision process.
An organization set up this way allows team members to develop different options and solutions to solve the organization’s issues.
Delegation of responsibilities could also lead to the discovery of new methods of completing tasks which would ultimately lead to increased efficiency and productivity of your team.
Strengthening of Organization
Delegation of certain tasks previously considered to be handled by a superior to a subordinate assists in building a high level of commitment from the subordinates who would feel more connected to the organization.
When employees are exposed to more authority and responsibility, they tend to feel the trust of their bosses, which would then guarantee stronger commitment to organizational growth and pave the way for organizational development and continued success while strengthening the core capital of the organization, which is its human capital.
Delegation allows for others to step in acquiring skills that are valuable to the organization, and it ensures that another person can carry out other tasks aside from the routine tasks.
It serves as a means to train another person to carry out more tasks that vary from their usual tasks, which could equip them to be better at something else. This is very important to ensure there is continuity when you are promoted or leave the company.
Therefore it is in the best interest of any company to ensure that jobs are duly delegated to subordinates as to prevent a situation where there is a vacuum when a senior member of the staff resigns it takes on a higher position as the subordinates have been exposed to the job quite a several times.
Benefits of Delegating
By delegating, the below listed are the plethora of benefits that one can enjoy:
- Delegation avails you more time and ability to focus on higher-level tasks: by allowing others to take on new responsibilities, you free up more time for yourself as a superior. Hence you can become productive as your time is not restricted to the jobs taken on and completed by subordinates. Therefore freeing your time to make strategies to benefit the organization as a whole.
- Delegation enables subordinates to learn and develop new skills: By delegating tasks and responsibilities to subordinates, they are given ample opportunity to improve existing skills, develop new skills and create an Avenue for them to learn new things. Notably, people tend to learn more by participating. Hence delegating tasks allows for the self-development of the subordinates.
- Delegation helps to develop trust between workers and also improve communication: By delegating tasks, subordinates tend to work better together and learn to communicate more efficiently with one another. This level of unity leads to improved camaraderie amongst workers and results in better results.
- Delegation yields improvement in level of efficiency, productivity and time management: When tasks are delegated, it leads to efficient use of resources available to the firm, as superiors can share tasks appropriately to the subordinates who then shoulder such responsibilities while allowing the superior to take on other tasks leading to efficient time management.
Guidelines for Delegating Tasks
Certain guidelines should be adhered to to get the best out of a delegation of tasks and responsibilities. Though it is acclaimed that delegation of tasks helps build subordinates’ confidence, boost efficiency and lead to increased productivity.
It is important to note that delegation has to be done correctly to achieve the best possible result. Therefore, below are the guides that should be kept in mind when delegating tasks.
- Delegation should not be done arbitrarily; therefore, the objectives to be achieved must be made clear to the subordinates to whom the task is being delegated. The superior should also ensure that the subordinate is equipped with the right tools to carry out the assigned responsibility.
- Engage the subordinate accordingly, make inquiries on concerns and be open to suggestions and ideas that he may have. This would ensure that tasks are given due attention, and the very best results are obtained.
- It is important to guide the employee taking on the new responsibilities on the amount of time and money spent on the delegated task.
- Another important guide is to play to the strength of the individual by tapping into the unique talent and skill set of the person to whom tasks are delegated; therefore, it is important to delegate work that is likely to result in overall efficiency hence resulting in improved productivity and optimum performance.
When tasks are delegated to subordinate long-term l, it is important to keep track of the workers to ensure that they are carrying out the tasks optimally and have remained on the right track to attain the best results.
The Difficulty in Delegating Work
The benefits that are attributable to the delegation of tasks are numerous; however, many superiors may choose not to delegate tasks and responsibilities as they might feel that it’s more efficient to conduct the tasks themselves, which they would consider managing time and resources rather than taking time to explain the rudiments of the task to someone else.
Below are several reasons why a supervisor/superior might refrain from delegating tasks to others.
- Delegation of tasks does not eliminate accountability on the task as Delegating tasks does not absolve the superior of the result from the task.; therefore, although you might give up the responsibility when you delegate a task, the superior who has entrusted the result of the task is still ultimately accountable for the success or failure of the task and responsibilities he has transferred to another, though transferring the success of a task to another person who did more of the work is considered a good strategy for a supportive leader. Therefore, there the delegator might not feel inclined to commit his success in the hands of another, knowing fully well that he would be held primarily accountable for the results of his choice
- Delegating could result in loss of control: Some managers believe that they can carry out the tasks by themselves without delegating to subordinates. They fear the possibility of a loss of control that could arise from passing off work to others. They might fear that once the task is delegated and the subordinate gets to do it properly, they might lose their relevance and power to control.
- Delegating tasks requires time and mentorship: If an organization hopes to get the best possible result from the delegation of tasks, there is a need to train another person on how to do the assigned tasks. Therefore, delegating tasks to someone else requires the superior to mentor the subordinate to ensure that the person carries out the task well. The superior considers it time-wasting when he has to spend time teaching and mentoring others to carry out the task when he could just as much conduct it himself.
- Delegating tasks might lead to loss of credit to the Superior: The superior might decide not to delegate as everyone revels in well-earned praise. However, the ability to allow another to take the praise is a hallmark of good management. It shows humility, team spirit and represents a leader who leads through the servant model. Therefore, when a superior decides not to delegate because he feels that he won’t be able to take credit, it simply goes to show that he is more concerned about himself than the whole organization.
- Delegation might lead to losing the task one loves: Having to do away with what you love doing because you have to delegate poses a big problem, and it takes the right mindset from the leader to achieve this. However, they might have to give it up for the betterment of the team as a whole.
- The refusal to delegate might also stem from a lack of trust for subordinates: This is one of the major reasons managers are always skeptical about delegating tasks to their subordinates. They lack trust in the ability of the subordinate to perform the tasks accurately. Hence they refrain from delegating these tasks since they are aware that they would eventually be held accountable for the success or otherwise of their decision.
Task delegation is an important decision for any organization. This fact was further grounded in a 2013 Stanford University-led survey where it was indicated by 35% of executives that delegation is one area they need to improve on, another 37% attested that they are working assiduously to improve their delegating skills.
Examples of Delegating
There are various ways in which delegation can be achieved; however, below are examples of delegation.
Empowering your Employees
A real estate company, Atlantic Properties, recently hired two new interns, Carl and Dave.
The company’s manager responsible for managing investment has been recently swamped with investment opportunities and has not had the time to do other tasks such as writing proposals and talking with key stakeholders which is also an integral part of the process of getting the best investment and push to sell.
Carl, one of the new interns, was a content writer equipped with writing plans and many other writing needs, while Dave was a call center agent for a renowned company.
The pressed manager then decides to play to each intern’s strength by delegating writing proposals to Carl and communicating with key stakeholders to Dave.
The manager mentored and trained both interns on successfully conducting the tasks and gave a detailed guide on how to perform them.
To guarantee success, the manager ensures to check with each intern periodically to ensure they are doing things correctly and haven’t detailed off the track.
Hiring a Helping Hand
Carmen recently started a company in Vancouver, and the business has involved the business of flipping houses.
The business model employed by the company revolves around buying a house at a relatively low price and holding it only for a short period before selling it back to the market at an increased price to generate quick profit off the appreciating nature of property investments.
Carmen, the sole founder of the company, has been in business for a while and is accustomed to doing things by herself, from marketing, accounting, business strategies, etc. to the extent that she’s been overloaded with work to the point where she cannot focus on what she does best which is finding best bargains in the housing market to flip and make a quick profit.
After realizing that the stress negatively impacts her ability to perform efficiently, she hires a junior accountant and a marketing manager to delegate work to.
This decision enables Carmen to focus on what she does best – improve efficiency and reduce stress while getting the best deals in the market with a reduced workload.
Delegating tasks is very important for the success of any organization as it allows for the development of the employees while contributing magnanimously to the organization’s success.
It has been revealed that companies which ensure that tasks are duly allocated to different people are a more guaranteed success as there would be no vacuum arising when a member of staff has to become unavailable for a period as the subordinates would be already well equipped to carry out the task appropriately.
Delegation helps to foster efficiency, team spirit, communication, improved productivity amidst many more benefits that are derivable from an astute delegation of tasks.