Importance of delegation in effective team management

by Ashvini on September 12, 2011 · 21 comments

in Managing Team effectively

This is the part of series of articles on “How to manage team effectively”

Delegation is an art. Delegation in simple terms is the assignment of activities to your subordinate or juniors. Delegation becomes necessary when organization becomes bigger and entrepreneur cannot complete all the task by themselves.

Delegate

In the early days of her venture, the entrepreneur is often the sole employee of her own venture. She does almost everything that is required to run her enterprise. With passage of time however as business grows , the entrepreneur needs to give up a portion of her tasks to people she hires and employs.

Delegation is definitely beneficial for a team or an organization.

Here are some of the benefits of delegation

  • It helps the manager leader to concentrate on her prime work areas while transferring non essential tasks to her juniors
  • It may save manager’s time by allowing time consuming repetitive tasks to be transferred to subordinates .
  • It may help subordinates build up their competency by doing tasks that were done by their boss previously
  • It may help a manager identify the right skill sets and motivation of the employee. Later this can be used in succession planning
  • It provides new challenges to employees  and keep them motivated

A few cautions while delegating a task

  • The delegated task may not be completed on time because of employee’s inexperience
  • The accountability of delegated task is still with manager
  • The critical functions may still not be delegated to inexperienced employee

It thus leads sometimes to a situation where manager would not like to delegate much to the subordinate.

I know a person who is so good at almost everything he does. However there are far more tasks that he can physically complete. In the end there are a lot of hastily finished tasks.

Why a manager might defer delegation

  • The manager may have a tendency to do all work by himself , since he is good at that .
  • The manager may be fearful of delegating a task because of the risk of it being done badly.

    Not the right way to delegate

  • Manager may be aware that too much oversight may be counterproductive and it might be a headache to manage the employee.

Thus the task of delegation is not easy and it should be done with proper care in mind . Here are some of the things a manager should keep in mind while delegating the task to her subordinates

A manager should either think hard about these tasks or not delegate them at all

  • Is the task critical to the project?

If yes and manager is not confident of delegation, she should do it herself

  • Does this task compromise confidentiality of employee in any way?

One example is handling appraisal information on employees.

  • Does this task need special skills?

If it does, then manager should do it herself or get an employee trained beforehand.

One task that can be readily delegated without much thought

  • Can this task afford to wait for long?

There are some tasks in a project that may be done any time in the course of project. They are not very critical. If the manager feels so, she can allocate such a task to the employee

Finally, how to decide, whom to delegate tasks first

  • An employee who has a track record of taking up new challenges and executing the tasks well
  • A highly motivated new comer who can often do repetitive tasks in a shorter time frame
  • An employee who has past record of adhering to timelines and is punctual in providing clear and correct status reports from time to time

Delegating the task is a difficult business no doubt( that is why I call it an art). With time however a manager may learn what is good and what works. From that point onwards, she may start delegation with finesse and that would be good for team overall.

Now its your turn. I am sure you have delegated tasks yourselves? Would you like to share some tips on delegation with me here ?

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