What is Delegation of Authority? Doing it Effectively and its Advantages

What is delegation of authority? It is the idea of handing over the liability of a duty to an employee. Managers can shift the ultimate responsibility of roles to any of their team members. The employee can then choose to share part of the assigned task with other members of the team.

Delegation of responsibility facilitates a productive and efficient work environment. Here are various things you should know about sharing of authority.

Why is Effective Delegation Critical?

Every team leader should strive to achieve the adequate flow of authority because:

  • It enables staff to finish tasks fast because they are distributed among a team of individuals instead of one individual.
  • When a manager divides duties among employees, he motivates them to try new responsibilities.
  • Allocating tasks to your team members allows them to demonstrate their talents and enhance their skills in a particular area.
  • Centralization of duties to lower-level staff members develops their skills while giving them the experience they need to earn promotions. 

How to Delegate Authority

You can use different channels to delegate tasks based on the workplace requirements, as we shall see below. 

·       Departments


If you are a chief executive officer in the company, you may consider delegating a particular department’s authority to your subordinate. For example, the delegatee in a marketing department could be the marketing manager. 

·       Decision Making


You can assign one of your team members the authority to make some decisions while focusing on other valuable roles. For example, if you are the marketing manager, you may delegate authority to your assistant marketing manager to handle the department’s hiring process. 

·       Administrative Procedures

Chief executive officers can delegate administrative duties such as data entry to other members of the team. For example, a marketing manager could allocate scheduling of meetings, client communication, and follow-up emails to their assistant managers. Often, such delegation can be long-term or short-term. 

Understanding the Process of Delegation of Authority

The process of delegation involves four main stages. These are:

·       Allocation of Tasks to Subordinates

Before initiating delegation, a delegator should determine the tasks they want to delegate. Here, the top-level managers list down the duties they want their subordinates to execute and highlight their desired targets. They, can then discuss the delegation process with the intended employees. The process of delegation of authority occurs based on the type of duty, employee ranking, and expectations. 

·       The Transfer of Authority to Execute the Task

The delegator decides the adequate authority the employee requires to execute the assigned task and grants it to them. At this stage, the manager should always ensure that the delegated authority allows subordinates to complete the assigned responsibility only. 

·       Acknowledgment of the Task

At this phase, the subordinate may choose to accept or reject the assigned duties. If the delegatee refuses the delegated task, the delegator should find the reasons behind it. They can opt to choose another team member willing to execute the task. Once a subordinate accepts the duty, the delegation process reaches the final stage. 

·       Accountability

Once the subordinate accepts the task, they become responsible for its successful completion and answerable to the top management. The subordinates will be responsible for updating their seniors on the progress and standards of performance. Remember, accountability should always follow the chain of command. 

What are the Advantages of Delegation of Authority?

·       Reduces the Managerial Load


Delegation frees managers from dealing with repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing them to focus on important responsibilities. Delegation of authority is an excellent way of boosting managerial effectiveness and efficiency. 

·       Motivates and Boosts Employee Morale 

Delegating tasks to your employees gives them a feeling of recognition and inspiration. Often, subordinates respond to delegated tasks with approval which helps them enhance their working efficiency. It also creates a sense of responsibility and motivation among them. The delegatees show more commitment towards completing their tasks and get the morale to achieve set goals. 

·       Training and Development

Delegating tasks creates a foundation for coaching, allowing subordinates to develop their existing skills and acquire new ones. The assistants will not only get satisfaction from their job, but will also be ready to take up more challenging duties. 

·       Facilitates Expansion and Growth

Delegation of authority provides the company with an opportunity to expand and grow its activities. The process offers flexibility across the organizational structure. By giving employees control over their everyday problems, you provide them with the power to assess the situation and make informed decisions. 

·       Facilitates Fast Decision-making

Delegating tasks makes decision-making more straightforward and better. Subordinates get the opportunity to decide on issues affecting their departments without having to consult further. Decision-making is ideal because it connects employees with the existence of the situations. Having the authority to make decisions when the need arises reduces unnecessary disruptions that could delay task completion. 

·       Delegation of Authority is the Foundation of Organizing

Delegation of authority is the foundation of developing an organizational process. It allows the executive to share part of its work with its subordinates. The levels in the corporate layout are based on the type of duty and the delegation of authority.

Besides, the performance of the business is impossible without an organizational structure. As a result, the management will first need to choose the levels of delegating authority, work, and responsibility before developing the corporate layout.

Obstacles to Delegation of Authority

While the delegation of authority offers numerous advantages, many managers are hesitant to allocate power. Many team members are also unwilling to accept administration and additional tasks for different reasons. Here are some of the reasons why managers and their assistants may hesitate to delegate or accept authority. 

Many managers may be reluctant to delegate authority because:

  • They believe they are more talented to handle the task at hand than their subordinates
  • Delegation may require lots of training, and the managers may not have the time or patience to coach, supervise, and offer guidance accordingly
  • They believe their subordinates do not have the capacity, experience, and qualification to execute the task effectively
  • They may lack the skill to direct their employees accordingly
  • They may lack trust and confidence in their employees. Seeing that the managers are liable for their subordinate’s actions, they may be unwilling to take the blame if the task is done unsatisfactorily
  • Some managers are afraid of losing their jobs to their subordinates, especially if the latter are more talented or qualified. 
  • They might lack the proper control systems to alert them in advance should problems arise along the way, delaying corrective actions.

What Causes Reluctance in Subordinates?

Here are some of the reasons why subordinates may be unwilling to take up authority. 

  • Subordinates may be afraid of being dismissed or criticized for making uninformed decisions.
  • They may have no confidence in their potential to take up additional responsibility.
  • Subordinates may lack the power to solve problems on their own
  • They may lack the motivation to accept additional authority if there are no incentives
  • Subordinates may lack sufficient resources to execute their decisions

How to Conquer Obstacles to Delegation

·       Acknowledge the Importance of Delegation

Instead of hesitating to delegate authority, managers should realize that doing everything by themselves is impossible. Decentralization of power boosts productivity, facilitates efficiency, and helps the company succeed. 

·       Have Confidence in Your Subordinates


It is worth mentioning that nobody knows everything, and we all learn through trying and making mistakes. Managers should encourage their subordinates to accept authority regardless of their level of experience.

Once they make mistakes, they will learn how to seek the right solutions. Further, managers should be willing to offer guidance accordingly to help improve their subordinate’s skills.

Remember, delegation is a constant process, and managers should recognize their assistants for work well done. They could delegate more work as a sign of confidence and trust in them. Doing so encourages subordinates to better their skills and enhance their performance.

·       Communication

Develop a practical communication system to facilitate the free flow of information between the managers and their subordinates. Delegators should be open to questions, while the delegates should be ready to discuss any problems they face along the way.

·       Motivation

Subordinates require motivation to accept delegated authority. Supervisors may consider giving non-financial recognition like an opportunity for growth, and promotions, or financial rewards. 

·       Select the Right Person for the Task

Overcome lack of confidence and fear in employees by breaking down the work into segments and sub-segments. Now assign the small tasks to employees who are most suitable for the job. Match the duties and the people doing them appropriately. Make sure the delegate has the relevant qualification and experience needed to execute the job satisfactorily. 

·       Liberate the Subordinates

Once managers acknowledge the need for delegation of authority, they should liberate the subordinates to make decisions based on the delegated tasks. As a manager, you should not let fear of assistants failing or making mistakes stop you from delegating authority. Allow your subordinates to seek solutions to challenges they face. They will gain the right skills to do their job right in the future. 

·       Clarify of Duties

Define the delegated tasks based on the expected results. Understanding the job and the objectives they should meet allows subordinates to execute the tasks better. 


Delegation of authority creates a jointly profitable relationship between managers and their subordinates. By delegating tasks, managers will have more free time to focus on things that add value to the organization. On the other hand, the employees can learn new skills that make them more valuable to the company. Read our insightful blog to learn more about delegation.


Delegation of Authority

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