What is Delegation? By definition, delegation is the authority of another individual to perform specific duties. It’s the method of entrusting and delegating work to a third person.
In business terms, effective delegating tasks to subordinates results in increased efficiency, operational effectiveness, decreased cost, higher productivity, and better quality of output. Because these tasks can be accomplished by any one of several people, there is an increased opportunity for completeness and perfection. With the appropriate delegation, tasks can be performed admirably and all possible flaws, omissions, or deficiencies can be unearthed. This enables organizations to continuously improve performance and, most importantly, to continue on course with its strategic goals. This is particularly important in organizations that depend heavily on standardized and repetitive tasks.
In the world of organizational studies, there are three major theories on what is delegation: power, knowledge, and will. The power theory of delegating tasks is rooted in the notion that individuals possess certain psychological traits that make them eligible for exercising discretionary will. Individuals have the ability to choose between options. When they exercise their will, however, they allow others to exercise control over them so that the final decision will conform to their own desires.
This psychological theory is related to the organizational structure theory, which states that individuals at all levels of an organization possess similar characteristics. The Marketing Director may delegate authority to a subordinate who is capable of performing tasks that are not considered “top priority.” The Marketing Manager may delegate authority to the sales and marketing representative who are capable of performing tasks that are “more important.” The same concept is applied when delegating to team members. The essence is that you can’t truly know what is more important to a team member until you yourself determine what is more important to you as a leader.
One of the most important aspects of effective delegation is clearly defined goals and objectives. If you want to delegate tasks to your employees, you need to make sure they have clarity of purpose. Without clear objectives to which the assigned task deviates, the majority of your employees will experience a lack of motivation to complete the tasks. As a result, they will inevitably be less productive.
Another important concept of delegation is that it is not inherently selfish. In fact, in many instances, delegating power can actually help the team members involved feel more connected to their manager and contribute more effectively to the overall organization. By delegating, the leader position creates a connection between him and his subordinates, strengthening the team’s bond. As your team leader grows as a leader, he can more easily pick up on the subtleties of a delegation that will benefit him and his subordinates. He also has a responsibility to the company, and his trust and confidence in his own ability to make wise decisions in regards to delegation will increase as well.
It is important for every leader to understand that delegating responsibilities does not mean he is giving up control. He is simply sharing control. The most effective leaders go out of their way to ensure that their team members feel like they are part of an ongoing project rather than a series of isolated tasks. This approach helps them get the most out of each individual assignment and gives them a sense of ownership and purpose.
In order to fully reap the benefits of delegation, it is vital that your team members are clear about the expectations of the assignment and that those expectations are mutual. Your team members must know exactly what they are expected to do and how they are performing on the tasks. They must also understand that this authority is not a right but a privilege, and that it can be misused if they are not careful. By taking the time to clearly outline the role and responsibilities of delegation, you and your team members will find that your company has a system that functions smoothly.