Five steps to using delegation authority effectively

Most business owners will tell you that there are advantages and disadvantages of delegation, and they will be telling you the truth. The trick is to identify how to use your delegation authority effectively. Here are five steps I have used in my career and teach in our management coaching training. Feel free to adapt to your business.

Know your authority

First, understand what authority delegation you have in your position. I know a number of managers I have worked with who thought they could delegate certain tasks and functions, only to find out they were unable to delegate – the authority to delegate was not provided in their position description. Once they understood who had delegation authority they were able to ask their superior if they would delegate out those tasks to others.

Identify what to delegate

Second, assuming you have delegation authority, identify what you need to delegate to subordinates, discuss with your subordinates their understanding of the authority you have delegated, discuss their willingness and readiness to assume that authority, and determine how you will evaluate the effective use of that authority delegation. Understand also that delegation to a subordinate of authority your position holds does not relieve you of the responsibility to ensure the delegated authority is used effectively.

How delegation and management relate

Third, understand the interrelationship between delegation and management. Using delegation authority effectively is a learned skill that relies on conveying role value to others and developing others – two critical natural talents that managers and leaders need to have in order to delegate effectively and consistently over time.

Appreciate the advantages

Fourth, appreciate the advantages to delegation. It allows you to help develop others into better managers and supervisors, it can free up your time by enabling others to perform work normally reserved to your position, it can improve decision making, it can enable the development of different management perspectives, and it can improve morale and motivation amongst your subordinates if they consistently see you enable and trust them to exercise some of your delegated authority.

Understand the disadvantages

Fifth, understand the disadvantages of delegation. Some potential disadvantages to delegation authority include delegating to the wrong person – he may not be able to effectively assume your delegated authority or he may not have any understanding of your job and the responsibilities attached to it. Another disadvantage will result if you are unable to take the time necessary to explain and/or train a subordinate on the function involved, and finally, another disadvantage may be a failure to perform, not just once, but consistently over time, thereby lessening the confidence of others in your delegation authority.

Effective management coaching courses know that delegation and management are central to managing smart, motivating smart, and developing a more aligned workforce. The steps to delegation described above can assist you toward that path. As a manager and a leader do want to learn effective techniques?

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