Delegation is the process of assigning responsibility to an employee or team. Generally, a superior officer or team leader delegates work to his subordinates. This gives subordinates greater ownership and independence of work, and allows superiors to focus on other important tasks.

Mastering delegation can seem difficult at first. But once learned correctly, it helps to combat micromanagement, lack of trust and fear of delegation.

Micro Management, Lack Of Trust And Fear Of Delegation

Micromanagement: When the manager closely monitors the work of the employees and controls them at every step, it is called micromanagement. Micromanagement or overmanagement often leads to lack of productivity, freedom of work and even motivation of employees.

Trust Deficiency: A type of trust deficit occurs when there is a lack of transparency, communication or accountability between the employee and the manager during delegation or task assignment.

Fear of Delegation: Managers may fear delegation for various reasons. These include fear of losing control over the team and failure, lack of trust in the work of the employees, etc. 

There are other reasons why a manager may feel uncomfortable delegating work to someone. Those managers may—

• Think that doing it yourself will get the job done faster than it will take to explain the job to someone else

• Wants to do special tasks by himself, to prove himself indispensable to the team

• Prefers to do some things by himself, so does not want to let others do them

• Hesitates to increase the workload of others

• Think no one else can do the job well

Whatever the reason, managers need to practice more delegation. If you don’t know how to get others to work, it will lead to problems in the long run. Then not only your work load will increase, you will spend more time on the wrong work. And employees will also be deprived of opportunities to learn new things and enrich themselves.

Here is a detailed discussion about delegation.

What To Do Before Delegating Or Explaining Work Responsibilities?

Before letting others do the work, you need to do some prep work.  It will contain clear instructions on how others will perform the work.  So that they don’t waste much time while working.  And do not have to contact you again and again.

  1. Understanding the work properly: To begin with, why the work is being done, what is the scope of the work, what are the objectives of the work and what are the expected results? If any relevant information or help is required to facilitate the working process, these should also be sought.
  2. Determining the importance of the work: Determining the importance of the work on a larger scale in line with the team’s objectives and priorities.  It should be seen whether the work is compatible with the objectives of the organization.
  3. Finding the right staff: Determine which staff will be best suited for which task by considering the skills, qualifications and availability of team members. Choose someone who has the necessary experience, skills and qualifications to perform the duties. 
  4. Prepare instructions: Create brief instructions. Break down each step of the work. If there are guidelines, procedures, templates required for the steps, share them with the team. Any kind of work related questions that may come up in the future, also mention them in advance in the guidelines.
  5. Provide the necessary help: Make sure that whoever will do the work has all the necessary resources, tools and information. Such as software, data, documents or equipment may be required. Can also provide necessary training and support to enhance the required skills and knowledge of employees.  
  6. Create a channel of communication: Create a direct channel of communication with the assignee. Keep your door open for any questions, support and guidance he may have. Decide in advance how work progress updates and work feedback will be communicated.
  1. Build trust and confidence: Express your confidence in the person to whom you have assigned the task to complete the task on time. Express confidence in his competence, judgment and accountability. Empower him to make decisions about his work.  
  2. Communicate Feedback: Decide in advance what will be the milestones, checkpoints of the work. You can also arrange for feedback sessions, which will enable quick action if any issues arise.

Delegate Any Work

Knowing which tasks to delegate and which not to delegate is important to improve team management and increase team productivity.  Here is a list of what tasks to delegate.

  1. Routine Tasks: Always outsource routine and administrative tasks that need to be done repeatedly. Such tasks may include data entry, file storage, scheduling, or general research tasks.  
  2. Time-consuming projects: Such tasks may include large-scale projects, complex analytical tasks or large reports. 
  3. Tasks that require specialized skills: These may include graphic design, coding, financial analysis or marketing campaigns. Quality of work is improved when specialist staff are given special responsibilities.
  4. Tasks that have an opportunity to learn: Examples are any task that requires skill acquisition. It may also work in a different branch of the organization. Such delegation increases the efficiency, involvement and loyalty of office workers.
  5. Strategic work: Such work may include implementing a new process, introducing a product to a market, or creating a new market for a product. When such work is delegated, it matches the organization’s priorities and has a positive role.

Do Not Delegate Any Tasks

Not all tasks are always suitable for delegation.  Here are the types of tasks you shouldn’t delegate.  Remember that privacy is more important than efficiency in the workplace.  

  1. Confidential or Sensitive Information: Do not allow others to do work that contains confidential or sensitive information. Such as employee performance reviews, salary determinations or the organization’s own data analytics. Do this yourself to maintain the organization’s confidentiality, transparency and trust.
  2. Decision-making authority: Do not let others do tasks that require high-level decision-making and strategic direction. No matter how well you explain the work, you as the manager have to make the final decision.
  3. Personal Responsibilities: Do not delegate tasks to office staff that are solely related to your personal or professional responsibilities. These include topics such as networking, relationship management or performance appraisal. 
  4. High Risk Work: Do not outsource work that is high risk and involves legal complications. Such tasks include compliance audits, regulatory filings or contract execution. You have to do such work yourself, so as to reduce the risk to the organization.
  5. Key leadership tasks: Avoid delegating tasks related to providing key leadership. Tasks such as providing strategic direction, building a positive office culture, or mentoring or coaching team members should be left to the team leader. You have to be directly involved in leading, these tasks cannot be delegated to others. 

What To Do After Delegating

  1. Encourage open discussion: Create a work environment where employees feel free to ask questions and report work progress. Encourage open discussion among employees to listen to employees’ concerns, take prompt action to resolve issues, and provide constructive feedback. 
  2. Conducting regular check-in meetings: Regular meetings or informal discussions allow to know about work progress and problems and provide necessary assistance. These meetings can be scheduled at any milestone in the work.  
  3. Provide necessary help: If any challenges or problems arise while working, deal with them first. Get input from team members, work together to find possible solutions, and take appropriate action to resolve them. Arrange for additional tools, information or training needed during the project. 
  4. Give work ownership and independence: Avoid having team members oversee everything. Instead, focus on the results of the work.  
  5. Help create a positive environment: recognize work progress, milestones or achievements and celebrate them together. Appreciate members’ efforts, contributions and achievements. 
  6. Review and learn together: After the task is completed, everyone discusses the work process, results and lessons learned from the work. What went well, what could have been done better, how this knowledge can be used later, these issues can be discussed. Accept open and honest feedback from team members. This will speed up the progress of the organization.

A Few Examples Of Successful Delegation 

Here are some examples of successful delegation in real life:

  1. Steve Jobs and the development of the Macintosh computer In the early 1980s, Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs assigned a group of engineers and designers to work on the Macintosh computer. Steve Jobs provided them with proper guidance and high level supervision regarding project work.  At the same time, Steve Jobs gave his team the freedom to make important decisions and work creatively. As a result of his successful delegation, Jobs’ team was able to successfully complete tasks through collaboration and innovation with others.  As a result, the Macintosh computer came on the market in 1984, which revolutionized the world of personal computers.
  1. Toyota Production System (TPS): Car company Toyota’s famous production system is based on the principle of employee empowerment. Toyota empowers employees to make decisions about their work. Through this, workers have the ability to identify and solve any problems during production. This ensures quick resolution of issues. It maintains a culture of continuous improvement and innovation in the organization.  .
  2. Richard Branson and the Virgin Group Entrepreneur Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, is well known for his ability to delegate responsibility for his portfolio of businesses. Branson empowered his team members to take full responsibility for the project. As a result, a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit has developed in his organization. By distributing work among employees and relying on their work, Branson created a global brand. The company has businesses in the music, travel, telecommunications and healthcare sectors.

These examples show that whether it’s technical work or aerospace engineering, successfully delegating can lead to innovation, collaboration, and overall success.  A leader can bring great success to his team by empowering employees to make decisions, working collaboratively or across teams, and providing support to employees as needed.

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