Delegating in business is different from what it is on paper. That’s because it requires conscious and practical efforts to learn what delegation truly means and how to do it in real-time.
Delegating in business
Sadly, while a delegation of work to employees can help a company realize its business goals, many new managers go through each day with their heads down.
Day in, day out, and week in, week out, consumed by stress at work, they try to crack up their hot heads with the hope that they will hit laudable milestones all by themselves, sooner or later.
But that will barely happen without delegating in business. Hence, in this article, you’ll learn the following:
- What does delegate mean
- Delegation definition in management
- Why delegating is important in business
- How to delegate work to employees
- Improving delegation skills in business
- Examples of delegation in business
- Elements of delegation in business
- FAQ about delegating in business
What is delegation?
Delegation as a word can mean different things to different people. But literally and in context, its meanings are consistent. So what does delegate mean?
To delegate means appointing someone or a group to do something on your behalf or represent you or a group you belong to. While that may suffice for a layman’s definition, it may fall short in the scope of management.
Delegation definition in management
The management perspective of delegation is different from that of a layman. It is somewhat specific and emphasizes the interpersonal relationship between managers and their subordinates.
Thus, delegation in management is simply a situation whereby a superior, like a manager or supervisor, confers the responsibility and authority to execute a designated task(s) to a subordinate or team member.
However, one mustn’t get things twisted. Delegation of responsibility (and authority) is not the same as abdicating one’s duties; neither does it mean or give managers the liberty to unduly keep throwing various tasks and responsibilities at other people at the slightest opportunity.
Why delegating is important in business
Like any other thing, in business, you wouldn’t commit yourself to something you don’t know its significance. Same for delegation of tasks by managers.
In other words, before you learn how to delegate tasks, you must first realize why delegating is important. So in this section, we’ll explore the importance of delegation as a management tool for managers and employees.
Benefits of delegation to managers
Become more efficient and productive
Delegating work to others does not only help you to get rid of stress at work as a manager. It makes you productive while it affords you more time for strategic planning and policymaking.
Help you stimulate the culture of trust and team spirit
As a manager, when you delegate tasks to your subordinates, you foster collaborative efforts and teamwork among your employees or team members. And that, in turn, builds trust between individuals working in an organization.
Encourage your team members to grow
Managers who fail to delegate tasks to their employees miss out on this. But an experienced manager knows that delegating authority to their workers to carry out some responsibilities helps their team members to stretch themselves while they exercise initiatives productively.
Benefits of delegation to employees
Opportunity how your competence and reliability
While some employees may feel reluctant to accept a delegation from their bosses, it’s often an opportunity (for them) to prove their abilities and reliability to their managers. Especially, in terms of delivering results and achieving laudable milestones.
Chance to get involved
When you are delegated by a superior to execute a task in your place of work, it’s an opportunity for you to get involved in what that task entails and make your input in realizing its goal(s).
In other words, one of the benefits of delegation to you as an employee is that it makes you an active contributor to the success of a project or initiative by harnessing your skills, knowledge, and experience.
Springboard for a career advancement
Yes, when an employee successfully executes a task or work delegated to him by his boss or manager against the outlined milestones or deliverables, that could give room for much higher responsibilities. And that may result in promotion, increase in pay, or other entitlements.
Wrap up of why delegating in business is important
With that said, when done well, delegation allows effective use of the human resources of a team while allowing them to grow career-wise in a work environment that stimulates motivation to work and team spirit.
How to delegate work to employees
While delegating work to others can help ease things up, it can be a source of worry to managers yet to discover a better way to delegate work to others.
But below are some helpful tips on how to delegate tasks to your employees or team members as a manager to help you achieve the optimum level of efficiency and productivity:
1. Select the right person for the tasks when delegating in business
When trying to delegate a specific task, as a manager, the first thing you want to do right is choose the right person for the job. And to be able to do that, you should consider the following about whoever comes to your mind:
2. What is the interest and enthusiasm of the person?
What is his knowledge, skill set, and experience? Would they altogether help him to carry out this work without experiencing a breakdown?
That’s to say, as a manager, you don’t want to delegate a task that would require lots of collaboration and extreme interpersonal relationship skills to someone (an introvert) who’s steady and effective when working in his/her space and pace.
3. Explain your reason for delegating the task
When delegating in business as a manager, after you’ve decided who you want to confer the authority to execute a specific task, explain everything about the job or task to him.
Yes, everything. You need to explain what you want the person to do and how he should do it. Also, let him know how the successful execution of the task means to you and your company and how it may help them broaden their horizon in their career journey.
4. Provide clear and concise instructions when delegating in business
Beyond explaining why you’ve chosen to delegate the task, your instructions must be free of ambiguity. What (and how) you want the assigned employee to achieve the desired expected outcome and milestones must be spelled out.
Kimemia N. JOHN and Makira N. Judy stated in their research work, “Authority delegated must be spelled out clearly to avoid ambiguity, which may result in misinterpretation by the subordinate, who may exceed the authority given to him.”
5. Make necessary tools, resources, and training available
After managers have duly delegated the required authority needed to perform the assigned responsibility to their employees, managers must also provide essential tools, resources, and perhaps the necessary training to achieve success in its execution.
For example, say a business manager delegates the responsibilities of training the next batch of recruits into your company to you. He must provide everything you need to achieve that goal in terms of finance, time, and other necessary resources.
6. Give constructive feedback when delegating in business
In learning how to delegate effectively, the ability to give constructive feedback is paramount. Yes, keeping open communication with whomever you delegated is essential.
That will allow your subordinate to reach out for assistance if situations arise while you assess their work at different milestones, so they can make practical adjustments in strategy, or as the case may be.
7. Express your appreciation
Learning how to delegate work would be incomplete when new managers disregard the place of showing appreciation.
Sadly that’s what is obtainable in many organizations in the corporate world. But as a manager, acknowledging the efforts of your subordinates in carrying out tasks you delegated to them goes a long way.
Saying “thanking you” may appear immaterial, but it can cause a boost in the morale and motivation of your staff.
Improving delegation skills in business
Learning to delegate work to others is an art that new managers must learn and master. But how? Below are practical tips on how you can improve your delegation skills:
1. Accept the significance of delegation to your job
Knowing how to delegate work to others is a skill. But you hardly would master it if you still find it hard to delegate work or tasks to your employees for one reason or another. Thus, to improve your delegation skills, you first need to appreciate the significance of delegation as a management tool by accepting the reality that you can’t do everything all by yourself. Even though you’re a born genius.
2. Know the appropriate time to delegate in business
Another thing you need to learn to improve your delegation skills is TIMING— knowing which tasks (and when) to delegate and those not to.
Some tasks are unavoidable— meaning they’re important and urgent, and you need to do them. On the other hand, some are important but don’t necessarily need you to perform yourself. These are the tasks you should delegate.
3. Delegate jobs to the right people
This has been explained above under the heading how to delegate work to employees. It’s simply knowing the strengths and weaknesses of team members and knowing who best qualifies for your delegated authority.
4. Ensure your instruction is well understood
Improving your delegation skills requires you to have excellent communication skills because that will help you give your instructions that are clear, concise, and complete.
5. Master the handling feedback
Feedback is an essential component of communication. But as a new manager who wants to improve your delegation skills, you must know how to handle feedback, that’s the ability to discreetly receive and send feedback throughout the delegation period.
Examples of delegation in business
Delegation in business settings takes place in different ways and levels. But as said earlier, as a manager, you must know the tasks you should delegate and those shouldn’t.
You shouldn’t delegate tasks that need gross confidentiality. Neither should you delegate work to your employees highly priority and executive jobs such as planning a new product line, employee hiring, and performance review, coupled with critical investment-related tasks
Thus below are examples of tasks that can be delegated in a workplace by a business manager:
- Research and development
- Conducting a business meeting
- Event planning
- Scheduling of meetings
- Sorting of emails and correspondences
- And other clerical and less operational tasks.
Business managers can and should delegate operational tasks, which are recurrent, and must get executed daily, weekly, or monthly.
In addition, as a manager, you should delegate whatever is beyond your job description—especially things that eat up your time and stop you from performing high-priority tasks and responsibilities.
Elements of delegation in business
For a delegation to be effective, there are certain elements that must be in place. And they are three in number: namely:
As a manager or leader, when you give a team member the go ahead to do a particular thing, it’s said that you’ve conferred the ability (power) to execute that task– which ultimately is to achieve a goal.
The task you delegated the necessary authority to your team member to perform is the responsibility, which is basically in terms of expectations or goals. That’s there’ll always be goals to be achieved through the tasks. And it’s crucial one this: responsibility is assigned, and not delegated.
And upon accepting your delegated authority and the responsibility as a manager, your subordinate or team member becomes obligated to product deliverables. Taking up the charge or obligations gives birth to the need of accountability. So you can simply say accountability means accountability.
FAQ about delegating in business
1. Why is delegation an important skill for managers?
It helps them optimize time as a scarce resource and become more productive as they focus on highly managerial tasks and responsibilities.
2. Why do managers fail to delegate?
Often, managers fail to delegate work to their subordinates because of their reluctance to do so. But why?
3. Why is delegation an important management tool?
As a management tool, delegation boosts efficiency and productivity as it affords managers the time to handle executive roles such as strategic planning and coordination of all the firm’s resources. On the other hand, it helps prepare employees for problem-solving with a heavy boost in their self-confidence.
Delegating in business is usually formal; that is, it’s in writing. But in some cases, it may not, except for a mutual agreement between the manager and the subordinate.
Whichever is the case, managers must be discreet in delegating tasks to their employees. Remember, the goal is to increase productivity and attainment of business goals.
Kimemia N. John & Makira N. Judy (2018). Effective Delegation and control and control in organization. International Journal of Innovation and Research in Educational Science; Volume, Issue 4, ISSN (online): 2349-5219