Effective delegation thrusts authority down vertically through the ranks of an organisation. It must not be confused with participative decision making, in which there is a sharing of authority. Delegation allows employees to make their own decisions.
Delegation is the assignment of authority to another person in order to carry out specific activities while retaining the ultimate accountability for the outcome of the activities.
Proper delegation is not abdication and requires the following:
- Clarifying the exact job to be done
- Setting the range of the employee’s discretion
- Defining the expected level of performance
- Setting the timeframe for the task to be completed
- Allowing employees to participate
- Establishing feedback controls
Managers who delegate correctly do not abdicate their responsibilities
Instead, they increase their effectiveness. However, if a manager merely dumps tasks on an employee, without explaining the job to be done, the employee’s discretionary range, the expected performance and the timeframe, then that person would be abdicating responsibility as well as inviting disaster.
When delegating, managers should keep in mind two important points:
- Employees will make mistakes
- Adequate controls will ensure that the costs of these mistakes are not more than the value of the learning
It is not viable for the manager to handle all of the work of the department directly. In order to meet the organisation’s goals, focus on objectives and ensure that all work is accomplished, managers must assign authority.
Authority is the rightful power of a manager to direct team members act within the scope of the manager’s position. By extension, this power – or a part thereof – is delegated and used in the name of the manager.