In the workplace, working as a team helps to get work done more effectively. Delegating enables you to assign tasks to your juniors and offer them any authority they need to accomplish the tasks. The advantages of delegation in authority are numerous, chief among them being it helps complete a task on time and reduces your workload as a manager.
Delegation is a process that enables a manager or supervisor to assign tasks to their juniors and equip them with enough authority to accomplish them.
Principles of Delegation
There are a few principles that can aid a manager in delegating authority for important responsibilities.
Principle of Result expected
Every manager who delegates authority should clearly define the goals and the results they expect from the employee. The employee’s performance standards and the targets should be made clear from the get-go
Parity of Authority and Responsibility
This principle balances authority and responsibility. This means if a manager gives a junior the responsibility to carry out a task, the junior should be given enough power and freedom to do it effectively. The manager does not provide the junior with excessive authority to prevent misuse. The authority should be issued with a limit and in a way that matches the given task.
This principle states that a manager can delegate authority, but not responsibility. The manager can only delegate duties, but the sole responsibility remains with them, as the senior-level manager. Until the task is done, the superior remains responsible and accountable. It is a disclaimer that a superior cannot blame their subordinates if a job is poorly done. The onus is upon the superior to delegate wisely to ensure the task is well done.
This principle suggests that a superior should use their authority within their given framework or jurisdiction. The managers should consult their superiors on matters they have no power over. This means before the manager can provide authority or make a decision, he/she must ensure they have the relevant authority to do so.
The same goes for junior employees, who cannot go to their superiors with complaints or suggestions without talking to their managers unless instructed to do so.
Features of Delegation
- Effective delegation is not one step but an ongoing process. When a manager delegates, it is via a sequence of steps
- Delegation of authority is not a science but an art. When you delegate to your subordinates, it does not guarantee that the subordinate will carry out the tasks to perfection. Delegation is a play on what and how the manager delegates tasks.
- Delegated authority does not mean not delegated accountability- You cannot escape being held accountable to your superiors if the delegated task is not done to satisfaction.
- It is a necessary and crucial organizational tool. As a manager, you cannot avoid delegation of authority, and you cannot perform all tasks alone, so you need to master delegation. Your corporate performance is pegged on how good you are at getting tasks done via delegation.
- Delegation comes in various forms. It can either be upward, downward, or lateral.
Advantages of Delegation of Authority
Here are some of the advantages of delegation of authority.
1. Reduces Managerial Workload
Delegation of authority prevents you from buckling under the weight of accumulated tasks. This enables you to focus on the company’s other and higher-level managerial tasks. A manager assigns routine work such as checking the time cards of employees. When you delegate such routine matters or tasks to lower-level employees, you save time and use that time dealing and focusing on important tasks and the company’s overall goals.
2. Better Decision Making
Delegating duties leads to better decision-making as the subordinates who are closer to the scenario know the facts better. For example, a sales manager in a certain region knows best which salesmen to allocate to the region’s specific areas.
3. Speeds Up Decision Making
Effective delegation of authority speeds up any decisions that need to be made. When a subordinate has to keep checking with a superior, a lot of valuable time is lost. Delegating authority eliminates these delays as the employee can make certain decisions without checking with their superior.
4. Empowers and Develops the Employees
The delegation of authority as a process encourages the junior-level employees to learn decision-making concerning their area of work. The subordinates equip themselves with the skills to make decisions and implement their ideas. They become empowered to create strategies and implement them, thus improving their self-confidence.
5. Morale Boost
When you delegate tasks and authority, the junior employee gets an opportunity to prove their abilities to management. They work hard towards finishing the delegated assignment, and after completion and management are pleased with the work, there is an instant morale and confidence boost. The employees get job satisfaction and trust their ability to handle challenging jobs. They start to have positive feelings about their boss, their career, and the organization.
6. Delegation Creates an Organizational Structure
Delegation of authority is crucial to creating a formal organisation structure. The delegation of authority process creates a superior-subordinate relationship, and thus a formal organization and effective functioning of the management structure.
7. Delegation improves relationships
When a manager or supervisor delegates authority, it is an indication of trust in the employee. It means the superior trusts the employee to tackle and complete the task. When the junior performs and completes the assigned task as per the superior’s expectations, it indicates his understanding of the boss’s requirements. The delegation allows them to understand each other’s needs and capabilities, which further fosters a better superior-subordinate relationship.
8. Delegation Improves Team Spirit
Delegation develops and improves an organization’s team spirit. It allows superiors and their juniors to work together harmoniously as a team. The delegator takes the lead by splitting a bigger task into small chunks and delegating them among the team members. This coordination and teamwork encourage them towards working towards a common goal. Proper delegation leads to higher efficiency, profitability, and productivity.
9. Effective Use of Human Resources
All delegation of authority to subordinates depends on their competencies, knowledge, abilities, skill sets, emotions, and attitudes. The use of human resources to get things done results in a more productive organization.
Delegation of authority helps in the expansion and diversification of a company. When employees are trained to make decisions in different fields, the company can expand and diversify its business as it already has a team with various competencies to lead its growth.
Obstacles of Delegation
Sometimes delegation of authority may face some obstacles from both managers and subordinates, such as:
- Some managers are autocrats, unwilling to delegate authority
- Some may be perfectionists who feel nobody can do the job better
- Lack of confidence in the juniors’ abilities
- Some managers may be poor at delegating
- Fear that the junior might do a better job and take his job
- Some managers are afraid of risking wrong decisions by subordinates
- The subordinate might expose the manager’s inefficiencies by doing a better job
The obstacles from subordinates might include:
- The subordinates might be afraid of making decisions on their own. They might want to steer clear of shouldering this responsibility, meaning they might say no to authority delegation.
- The subordinates might refuse to take authority if they feel they might make mistakes when making decisions and get criticism from their superiors.
- If the subordinates feel there is a scarcity of resources necessary for discharging their duties, they might refuse to accept the authority.
- Lack of self-confidence in their abilities
- If the subordinates see no positive gains if they accept responsibility, they may avoid taking the authority.
Before you begin the process of delegation of authority, you must set ground rules that serve as a guideline. These rules tell a junior how much power they have to avoid them from overstepping their boundaries.
Delegation of authority is an inevitable process, and it makes the workload lighter, fosters a team spirit, boosts the morale of subordinates, self-confidence, and improves productivity. Delegating does not remove responsibility from the subordinates’ superiors, and how well or badly the job is done as a whole reflects on the delegator. The manager must carefully master the art of delegating and know who to delegate to and when.