The Subtle Science and Art of Delegation

As a manager, you cannot involve in every single activity or project that your team or teams undertake. If you do so, you are sure to fall into the trap of micromanagement. It is such a destructive tarp that can spoil your managerial purposes and capabilities. This means as a manager you have to be skilled in the art and science of delegation.

The problem is managers often delegate poorly with little input to the person or team to whom the job or task is delegated and with poor understanding of what is expected from that delegation or what kind of output is expected from the person or team whom the job is delegated. A Poor delegation leaves the employees in a state of mess and surprise.

The harder part of delegation is trusting the people to whom the manager delegates the responsibilities but the hardest part is delegating the jobs to the right persons and in the righteous ways. As such what you delegate is not as important as how you delegate and how much the person is ready to accomplish the responsibilities you delegated.

If your workload has become too much or you will not be able to attend the office for a week or more or you think some of your responsibilities should be assigned to some of the team members, you have no way out but to delegate. If you have trained the people under your supervision well, you can trust them with new tasks or challenges. Here lies the subtle art and science of delegation. Today or tomorrow, one way or the other, you have to trust your people with jobs and responsibilities. If you can’t, your organization will not grow and your employees will not grow. So, this is the right time to prepare your team in such a way that they don’t hesitate to take responsibility or show doubt in accomplishing a job in the way you want.

Keep in mind that the passing of responsibilities is not delegation. Also, keep in mind that just asking people to accomplish some jobs that you perform is not delegation. Delegation is empowerment to the employees who accomplishes the jobs exactly the way you do or want. When you delegate a job, you should be confident enough that even in your absence the jobs will be completed and the organization will be a gainer. Delegation means your presence in the broader aspect. With delegation, you actually multiply your efficiency and capability while letting people learn new things and helping them grow. As such you don’t delegate a task or job but a responsibility. There is a marked difference between passing responsibility and delegating responsibility.

For delegating responsibility, prepare your people from the very beginning:

How the jobs are to be performed?

How the resources are to be utilized and managed?

How people can be efficiently involved?

How the expenses and monetary aspects are to be managed?

How and when the higher authority can be informed or involved?

People in your team or teams should be habituated with the jobs related to the responsibilities well before they are actually delegated.

Give them smaller tasks every day or as you think feasible.

Give them control over the responsibilities from time to time but in your presence.

Most importantly, let them understand the outputs expected along with the management lies behind those responsibilities. You should have complete clarity regarding the jobs involved. You need to understand that until now you perform the jobs in your own ways. You amend the mistakes or rectify the issues on your own as you think feasible. But, when you delegate, you don’t have complete visibility of how the jobs are performed on a day-to-day basis. You just have the output in hand.

Communicate with people in every possible way with a professional mindset.

Explain to them how you are going to evaluate their performances.

Explain to them how the responsibility you delegate is connected to the larger organizational goal.

Ask them questions to understand how much have they understood the jobs?

Hence, people should have complete clarity of what is expected from them in the long run. One of the major responsibilities of a manager is to train and teach people and find the people who can move into a leadership role like you in the future. A manager needs to be a good trainer and motivator as well. People who are interested in their current profile and who want to excel can be given more responsibilities to make them ready for future leadership. Delegation is risky but today or tomorrow you have to take the risk for the sake of the overall growth of the organization.

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