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‘What should I delegate – and what not?’



What should I delegate?

Managers should delegate any task which somebody else can do.....

1. ....better than they can. Managers should ensure that they are taking advantage of anybody who has work-related, specialist knowledge, so that the talents of individuals work for everyone's benefit.

2. ....cheaper than they can, because staff get paid less.

3. ....with better timing - "the less than ideal solution at the right time is better than the otherwise ideal solution at the wrong time".

4. a contribution to staff training and development. If you, as a manager, feel that you cannot trust a subordinate with jobs which you know you should not be tackling, then you have a training job on your hands - and training includes delegation.

What should I not delegate?

As a manager, you should not delegate any high-level tasks which require your full attention. Such tasks include:

1. Overall policy for your operation,

2. Overall planning.

3. Personnel matters - selection, training, development and appraisal of your immediate subordinates.

4. Promotion, praise and disciplinary action for your immediate subordinates.

How to delegate.

- Ensure that your staff understand the complete task to be achieved. Why they are doing it. What is the target. When it must be completed and to what standards.

- Give them the necessary authority - define the limits and make sure that they understand them. The delegation cannot work successfully if the person has to come back repeatedly asking for permission to proceed.

- Inform any others who might be affected by your decision. A failure to do so will create unnecessary antagonism, conflict and tension.

- Remember that you cannot delegate a task without training. Your member of staff may not have carried out the delegated task before. Prepare a training plan, and remember it may take some time before they can carry out the task as well as you can. Eventually they will, so be patient.

- Allow the individual to reverse a decision themselves. Never countermand their decisions publicly.

- When the member of staff takes over the task, they accept responsibility for their actions; you, however, must accept the accountability for any decisions you delegate.

Following up.

- Create the opportunity to take feedback on progress, but don't crowd people. Review progress regularly; delegation without control is abdication.

- Give the individual as much freedom as possible to use his / her skills; don't provide answers but give some help as to where the answer may be found.

- Don't be hasty in criticising shortfalls. Maybe you wouldn't have done it that way, but it's the outcome of the delegation that is important.

- Regular appraisal of your staff must take place, with feedback as soon as possible, giving private and public praise for any task completed well.

Delegation is not just about giving somebody a task, without guidance, and leaving them to sink or swim. Successful delegation lies within the key questions:

"What should I be doing and what should I not be doing?"

"How can I best equip each subordinate to do what they should be doing?"

For more information on delegation, please visit our website at Go to 'Library', scroll down to the 'Managing People' section, click on 'delegation', and there you should find a number of links to other relevant material.

-----From Skillgate-------

web site:
email: [email protected]


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