There is a limit to the amount of work that you can do on your own. There is only so much value that you can deliver to your company or organization without the help of other people. If you are successful in your career, at some stage the demands on you will become greater than you are able to cope with on your own. When this happens, you are forced to rely on the help of others, you are forced to delegate.
Delegation is a process by which a manager examines the various responsibilities and tasks at hand, and rather than assuming and completing those tasks and responsibilities on his or her own, that manager decides to assign the work to other employees. Effective managers must be willing to entrust a task, power or responsibility to another person. Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as having said, “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.Order now
Delegation is a skill that incorporates analysis, planning, awareness and self-confidence. It requires a manager that is able to incorporate the four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Planning involves formulating a systematic process for delegating tasks to other employees. Organizing involves arranging the resources your employees may need in order to accomplish the delegated task.
Leading involves the guiding, leading, and overseeing of employees in order to achieve the task. Controlling involves verifying that the employee’s performance matches the action plan. Delegation involves passing responsibility for completion of work to other people. The ideal position to reach as a manager is one where your staff carries out all the routine activities of your organization. This leaves time for planning, thinking, and improving the efficiency of what you are doing as a manager.
Ultimately, delegation involves getting the help you need, when you need it by the staff member most qualified to assist with the task at hand. In the Arkansas Governor’s office, where I currently work, delegation is a colossal part of each work day. The Governor cannot possibly address all the problems and issues relating to the state of Arkansas personally; therefore, he has a chief of staff who is responsible for the proper delegation of tasks to other staff members.
The chief of staff is responsible for assigning the tasks to various members of the Governor’s management team, who in turn are responsible for delegating the task to policy advisors within our office that are assigned to handle specific state government related issues. Each policy advisor then has an administrative assistant to whom he or she can further delegate tasks if warranted. If not, the administrative assistant is responsible to assisting the policy advisor in completing the task in order to satisfy the needs of the constituent or Arkansas citizen.
The process within our office illustrates how delegation is the downward transfer of formal authority from superior to subordinate. We all realize that delegating involves working with an employee to establish goals, granting them sufficient authority and responsibility to achieve the goals, often giving them substantial freedom in deciding how the goals will be achieved, remaining available as a resource to help them achieve the goals, assessing their performance (the quality of their effort and attainment of the goals), addressing performance issues and/or rewarding their performance.
Delegation is primarily about entrusting your authority to others. This means that they can act and initiate independently; and that they assume responsibility with you for certain tasks. One of the main phobias about delegation is that by giving others authority, a manager loses control. Even when you delegate the work, you still maintain the accountability. Ultimately, the supervisor retains responsibility for the attainment of the goals, but chooses to achieve the goals by delegating to someone else.
Deciding what to delegate is simply to list the things that you do which could be more effectively done by someone either more skilled in a particular area or less expensive. In our office, it is much more cost effective to delegate tasks to others, thus allowing the Governor time to focus on highly sensitive issues that require his immediate attention. How far management can delegate jobs will depend on the ability, experience and reliability of their staff. Good employees will be able to carry out large jobs with little to no intervention from management.
When a job is delegated, management should explain how the task fits into the overall picture of what the company is trying to achieve. In the Governor’s office we stress to our staff that our goal is to serve the citizens of the state of Arkansas. Delegation is an important skill for helping to manage a heavy workload. We see that on a daily basis in the Governor’s office. If you do not delegate, you will quickly reach a stage where you stop progressing in your career because you cannot take on any more responsibility.
If you reach that stage, you are no longer advancing in your career. The key is to delegate gradually. Each task delegated should have enough complexity to stretch that member of staff – but only a little. When you delegate a job, it does not have to be done as well as you could do it (given time), but only as well as necessary: never judge the outcome by what you expect you would do (it is difficult to be objective about that), but rather by fitness for purpose. You want to delegate as much as possible to develop your staff to be as good as you are now.
Tasks in which you have experience are the easiest for you to explain to others and so to train them to take over. You thus use your experience to ensure that the task is done well, rather than to actually perform the task yourself. In this way you gain time for your other duties and someone else becomes as good as your once were (increasing the strength of the group). By delegating, a manager exhibits trust in his or her employees by giving other people’s ideas a chance. A subordinate’s decision doesn’t have to be exactly what yours might have been. So welcome and reward ingenuity.