The Art of Delegation — All you need to know

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After prioritization, another skill which is equally important and equally responsible for success in your career is Delegation.

Now, as you have learned from my previous article about the importance and necessity of prioritization, the step that comes next is delegation.

It won’t help if you prioritize tasks and then do all of them by yourselves, because it

§ Is time consuming

§ Increases your Stress level

§ Makes you work endlessly

§ Won’t give you time to think, which affects your effectiveness and efficiency

§ Won’t give you time to do any other thing. (Ex:) Following your passion

So, it is imperative that you combine the skill of prioritization with delegation to yield fruitful results.

Now comes another important question,

What is Delegation?

According to Business Dictionary,

Delegation is Sharing or transfer of authority and the associated responsibility, from an employer or superior (who has the right to delegate) to an employee or subordinate

In simple terms

“Delegation is the process of giving the authority and necessary resources to another person (mostly subordinates) to complete a particular task.”

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For the delegation to be effective,

the person who takes the task should receive all the needful support from the person who delegates the task.

Delegation and Empowerment:

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Delegation and empowerment are always closely linked.

Both delegation and empowerment occurs when subordinate has been given the authority to carry out a particular task.

The difference is that we call something Empowerment

1. When the superior grooms the subordinate by providing resources, training and support needed to do a particular task and

2. When upper level employee gives a task to a lower level employee

Delegation and Leadership

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Delegation is through which you can exhibit your leadership skills because as a leader you are responsible for getting things done.

Even though it is not you doing all the work, it is the ability of the leader to get things done that matters.

It is because, the tasks should be delegated in such a way that people who have the right skill get that particular task or else it won’t be effective.

So, it’s the leader who has to know the strengths and weaknesses of each member in the team and then assign the task accordingly for it to be effective.

Although the authority and the accountability can be delegated, the leader is still responsible for the task.

This brings us to the next point,

Why is delegation necessary?

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Failure to delegate causes managers to be crushed and fail under the weight of accumulated duties that they do not know and have not learned to delegate — cited James D Mooney in Organizational decentralization and delegation

The 4 main reasons why delegation is necessary:


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Perhaps the most important reason on career stand point is Synergy.

Synergy is the concept of working together to finish a task. Delegation of task means that more than one person can be given the same task.

Through this people do collective brainstorming to come up with better ideas and better quality of work done which a person cannot achieve on his/her own.

This will also in turn increase the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of the whole team.

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Delegation involves empowering the subordinates by giving them the authority and freedom to a certain extent.

Thus, this allows the subordinates to come out of their comfort zone and take it as a challenge to achieve the task, thereby also increasing the loyalty of your subordinates.

This also gives an opportunity to you to pick the brains of others and improves your thinking capability in different ways and angles.

This can also be a blessing in disguise because highly skilled subordinates will reduce your workload drastically.

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Delegating the work means you have less work to do and this will help you to plan the very important and urgent tasks and leave the rest to your team.

Delegation means you also have more time in your hand to build other skills and think creative.

It also means that you get to spend more time with your loved ones.

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In this competitive world of cut throat competition, it is always expected from you to do something out of the ordinary.

It also means that you are expected to take more responsibility and complete lot of tasks with constrained budget and time.

This obviously would be very tiring and stressing if you take up all these on your own. Hence bringing in delegation will help you to break these shackles and manage things better, leading to less stress and being more productive.

Now that “why we need delegation” is out of the way, we can come to

Drawbacks of Delegation:

I know what you must be thinking:

“Wait. What! You are telling me that there are drawbacks for delegation?”

Off-course. Just like how every coin has two sides, delegation also has advantages and some drawbacks.

The main drawbacks are:

1. Initial time required to train the subordinates

2. Initial failure rate is high as you have not know all of your subordinate’s capabilities

3. Miscommunication which leads to gap between expectation and the final result

4. Lack of certain capabilities in your subordinates that is required to do the task

5. Uneven task delegation in case of more subordinates will lead to rift in the team

6. Cost of choosing the wrong person for the task might be high sometimes

Delegation — Easy or Difficult to master?

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Delegation might sound easy but it is actually a very difficult task.

Some might find it easy because it comes naturally for them.

These kind of people are the ones who are either

1. Good in team exercises, or

2. Lazy to do things on their own.

But, there are many who find it difficult because

§ Either they don’t trust their subordinates, or

§ They are perfectionists and they want to do everything by themselves, or they

§ Are skeptical about how the result might turn out to be, or

§ They think that they are the only person who is capable of doing that task

London business school professor John Hunt notes that only 30 percent of managers think they can delegate well, and of those, only one in three is considered a good delegator by his or her subordinates.

This means only about 1 manager in 10 really knows how to empower others.

This also brings us to the next point

How to Delegate — The Process:

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Things can always be done effectively by using certain process. So,

Here is the process through which delegation can be easily implemented:

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It is very important for you to gauge the your strengths and the capabilities of your subordinates and choose the right tasks that can be delegated.

Delegate what you don’t know to do or don’t want to do.

(Ex): You might be an excellent strategist but might have poor computer skills.

So, in this case, delegate computer related tasks and do what you are good at.

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Spend some time with your subordinates and get to know their strengths, characteristics, values and capabilities well.

This allows you to have a better understanding about them and thus helps you to distribute the tasks according to their strengths.

(Ex): You might have six entirely independent tasks to delegate.

At this point of time, knowing your subordinate’s strengths will help you to distribute the tasks efficiently.

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When you have decided to delegate a task to someone, the most important thing that you should do is

§ Give the person to whom you are delegating to a certain amount of freedom to do things their way

§ Trust them completely show them the trust by giving full support to them

(Ex): When you delegate the task of designing a web page to your subordinate,

Give ample freedom for that person to come up with creative design concepts, and

Trust that he/she will come up with beautiful design and give that person full support.

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It is very important for you to be clear in whatever you are expecting from those who work for you.

The expectation should be clear, measurable and transparent.

This will give a clear cut goal and commitment for them to deliver.

(Ex): I need an article on the topic “XYZ” with minimum 500 words to maximum 600 words.

It should be original with few book mentioning and the deadline is 2 days.

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It is very much essential that due credit should be given to the person who is doing the task and that too in public.

This will motivate them to take up more tasks and do well.

This will also increase that person’s accountability and in turn it shows in the result.

(Ex): When the person to who whom you delegated the task comes up with a new trick to decrease the machine down time, it is very much necessary to give that person full credit in public.

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Delegation should always be done with accountability and authority or else it will become a favor.

Only when accountability is given that a person will take a task seriously, or it will be a namesake work without much effort or task involved in it which leads to mediocre or ordinary result.

(Ex): When you ask a person to recruit for a position, give that person the accountability and authority to use all the sources available to source the best profiles.

Stages of Delegation:

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Delegation is an art that can be learned by

1. Putting your ego aside,

2. Trusting your co-workers and subordinates,

3. Working together as a team, and

4. By not fearing about delegation

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By this way, you can all learn the art of delegation and stay ahead in your career.


Please feel free to review and discuss. Expecting your valuable insights.

Written by

Adithyaa is a management professional with diverse Industrial experience. As a writer his mission is to help people to bring out the best in them.

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