142To be an Effective Manager and achieve things through other people, delegation should be used.

We discussed Delegation in previous lessons.

The definition of Delegation is assigning tasks to other people while still being held accountable for them. The most important thing is to know who to delegate to, what task to give them, and when to delegate.

This is not an easy skill to master, but done properly it gives team members some responsibility and motivation and even perhaps a taste of leadership.

Often managers don’t delegate because they believe it will be quicker to do the job themselves than to delegate. They are correct, especially the first time a task is delegated, because before a task is given to someone else, they have to know exactly what needs to be accomplished, and how. If you are completing a task yourself you can use your judgement as the work progresses. But once a task is delegated, specific instructions are needed. So the manager has to explain the task, allow their employee to perform it , check it , offer feedback , allow it to be corrected , check it again ……. Definitely quicker to do it yourself!

But if a manager doesn’t delegate, they do not allow staff to develop their skills. Good delegation will eventually pay off and save time in the long run, develop staff, groom successors, and motivate the team. It provides cover for annual leave, maternity leave, and sickness and will eventually free up management time.

But poor delegation will cause difficulties, demotivate staff, and the task itself may not be achieved. So it is important to delegate well and carefully.

The first issue is to select the right time to delegate. This is not when the manager is busy and needs to get some help, but when they have time to invest in teaching the work to others, and are not up against a deadline that won’t allow for mistakes to be made and then corrected.

Then suitable tasks should be selected, and given to the most appropriate member of staff, who has the time and ability to learn the task

Transferring authority and responsibility

According to the theory of management, authority and responsibility are inseparable There is no authority without responsibility .Delegating to staff means that although you don’t complete the task yourself you do maintain responsibility, so you must ensure the best results are achieved.

There are different levels of delegation, involving the amount of discretion the manager gives to the employee, and how much supervision is given during the task. They range from asking the employee to look into a task and report back their findings, coming up with suggestions for the manager’s endorsement, proposing action, all the way to taking action on their own initiative and reporting back to the manager later.

There is a wide spectrum of authority and responsibility involved in delegation. You may delegate small tasks for which you maintain authority and responsibility, or if you are authorised to, you may completely hand over tasks, with authority and responsibility for them. In effect in this case you delegate part of your job, and will formally change your employee’s job role, giving them complete responsibility to manage a section of your department.