When to Delegate

Most good writers on delegation suggest that decisions should be delegated to the lowest possible level of the organization. This will free up the time of top management. It will allow the individual closest to the problem to make the decision, and usually the decision is a better one. It will also develop the people as they make decisions.

1. Delegate any decision of a routine nature
2. Delegate any decision to be followed by a report (for final approval) or a decision requiring consultation.
3. Delegate when the big jobs that need to be done are not getting done.
4. Delegate when the leader is overworked and deadlines for work are being missed.
5. Delegate when the leader’s time is being spent on trivial tasks.
6. Delegate when subordinates can, with some training, carry out responsibilities
better than the leader.
7. Delegate when a new staff member is added.
8. Delegate when the work load on the staff becomes unbalanced.
9. Delegate when the staff wants more responsibility. When men need new worlds to conquer, give them more to do.
10. Delegate when special events occur.
11. Delegate when associates are coming to you for too many decisions and interrupting you from doing more important work.

A leader should be very careful about delegating some specific areas of responsibilities. A leader should never delegate a duplicate of his own job. He should exercise caution when delegating executive actions, such as goal setting, establishing major policy, coordination, discipline, and evaluation.

Delegation process

Even when the leader is ready to delegate, it cannot be done unless the subordinates are ready for it. There are some things a leader can do to prepare subordinates for delegation. A good example or model for them to observe is one of the best aids to preparing others for delegation. The leader needs to be this model leader. The leader can also use questions to make his followers think and understand why things are done as they are, and this will help them to develop. Matters can be delegated first that will require some reporting back, which will give some freedom, but also maintain control. Finally, when a subordinate is ready, work can be delegated to him with freedom to make decisions, even mistakes, and to sink or swim.

The steps to follow when delegating have been laid out by many writers:
First, decide on the duties to be delegated. Generally delegate tasks that are lower in priorities and higher in time consumption.
Second, select qualified workers for delegation. This is a matter of timing. As a worker grows, he will be ready to assume more responsibility and authority and therefore is ready for additional tasks to be delegated to him.
Third, communicate with the worker the task. Make the duties clear. State the end result first. Do not give methods; put the worker on his own.
Fourth, provide the necessary training to do the task.
Fifth, motivate the worker to accomplish the task. Let him know he is really responsible and accountable for doing the task. Be sure he understands the importance of the job and how it relates to the total program.
Finally, establish controls, including an understanding of the limits of authority and reporting back dates. The authority should equal the responsibility.

After a task has been delegated, then communicate with the group as to the responsibility and authority of the worker. Check up on progress, correct as necessary. Follow through on what is delegated. The leader is still responsible. Recognize that in the beginning it may take more time to delegate than to do it yourself, but the investment of time will pay dividends. Give praise where it is deserved.

Another very simple process for delegation has been suggested:
1. “I do it.” (The leader does the job.)
2. “You and I do it.” (The leader looks for someone willing to help and involves them in the task.)
3. “You do it, and I will support you.” (The leader gradually transfers the leadership to the other person, but the leader stays close and gives support.)
4. “You do it, and I will move on.” (The leader lets the subordinate assume the responsibility and releases the control.)

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