Delegate Authority for Smooth Management

Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out” Ronald Reagan

 Imagine having your hands full – literally and yet you are trying to stuff more into your clenched fists. What do you think will happen? You will either drop whatever you already have in your hand or soon get very sore and tired and give up.  Now imagine an overworked manager / leader trying to fit more work in the schedule – do you believe that this person would remain efficient for too long or even be able to manage the tasks under their care? It is extremely crucial for people in leadership positions to learn how to delegate authority for smooth management and seamless work processes. For individuals and the company to function optimally they would need to learn how and regularly delegate authority – it is essential to for those in senior positions to master this technique. When a senior person in the team is able to delegate authority responsibly and ‘correctly’, the team works more collaboratively and there is feeling of trust and being valued. These values are vital for the health and success of individuals, teams and the company as a whole.

There is probably no set method or style to delegate authority but the fact remains that it is required and necessary. However, there are some broadly accepted and recognized practices that underlie the management technique delegation. Delegate authority not because the manager is overworked and would want to shun or ‘do away with’ some boring or non-valued added tasks. The tasks at hand must be properly evaluated and the reason for delegation accurately determined. The employee to whom a manager seeks to delegate authority for a particular assignment / project must be able to see value in the task and also the successful completion of the task should be a ‘feather in the cap’ for the employee. Every support in the form of guidance and tools must be made available to the employee in order for the delegated task to be successfully completed.

The practice to delegate authority is important from many perspectives – it aides in the smooth functioning of teams, enhances personal development and allows for effortless and more efficient working of operations and processes. When managers are able to ‘let go’ and delegate authority they are ensuring the complete participation and contribution of the team members and delegating the running of ‘plum projects’ to high potential staff increases their efficiency and is also the company’s way of showing them their contribution is valued. Such management techniques result in teams and a workforce that would be willing to partner with the company and also stay with them for a long time.

What does it mean when we say that a manager’s capability of being able to delegate authority increases efficiency and aides in the development of employees? The fact is that even if a person has reached a certain ‘rung of the corporate ladder’ they would still not be equipped to handle all kinds of tasks or have all the skills possible. When a manager is able to delegate authority she or he is acknowledging that there are other people in the team who have the skills to match the tasks to be delegated. A person in a leadership position must have time to plan and strategize for the team and the company as a whole. To delegate authority would mean that routine tasks that would be streamlined can be easily and effectively carried out by the junior members of the team, leaving the senior manager free to carry out the tasks that require more expertise, experience and strategic skills. In addition, the delegation of the non-value added tasks relieves and alleviates the stress levels and feeling of being overworked for the manager. These delegated tasks would however be of consequence to the junior members of the team and give them an enhanced sense of belonging and being valued. When a manager decides to delegate authority, she or he is also extending their experience, skills and coaching to the member of the team. With such leadership and encouragement, the team members find an easy route to development and also are motivated to apply their current skills and also learn a few more that will help them accomplish the delegated task and also take up more such responsibilities in the future.

The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels”.Eli Broad – this quote rings true for most companies. To delegate authority for some managers is very hard as they believe that their own position and power would be undermined. The competitive ego comes into play making the managers believe that they can perform alone and do all the tasks on their own. Passing on job responsibilities is a way of expressing dependability and also sharing of authority. The underlying premise of being able to delegate authority is the ability to look beyond one’s own job and look for ways that will allow the required tasks to be completed systematically and effectively. To delegate authority does not mean that a manager is relegating herself or himself or is any way relinquishing their position. The ultimate responsibility of the successful completion of the assignment would still lie with the manager – the accountability and onus would still lie with the manager. In the event the project meets roadblocks or gets messed up in some way, the manager will not be able to claim ignorance. Both ‘bricks’ and ‘bouquets’ would need to be shared by all who are part of the project / delegated task. The fact is that through the entire duration of the project the person who has delegated the task would still need to supervise every now and then and also should have instructed the employee in charge of the task to keep them informed on the progress or anything that could hamper the completion.

From the above and from experience, it is not hard to understand why companies must allow their managers the discretion to delegate authority when they deem appropriate. It is an important management tool – leads to more effective management, proper utilization of resources and reduces the stress and anxiety levels of the senior person who may be overwhelmed by routine tasks that don’t even belong on her or his ‘desk’. The subordinates in the team also feel empowered by the trust placed in them by the manager, goading them to improve their performance and produce optimum results.

The other great benefit that being able to delegate authority brings is that the ‘added’ responsibility stirs the interest and zeal of the employees. They are keener to learn new skills and utilize and showcase their skills and talents to the manager and the company. Such tasks aid their development and speed up their career progression by allowing them to gain experience of jobs that are related and assigned at the outset to a senior level within the company. The feeling of being entrusted with such higher level responsibilities is a great morale booster and motivates the employees to do the task superlatively in order to be recognized in the future too. This feeling acts as a catalyst and motivates the others in the team to also sharpen their skills and be chosen for such delegated tasks in the future. Even though this is a non-financial incentive, it ‘packs a punch’ with respect to motivation and the desire to more and better!

As individual teams grow and work seamlessly, the company as a whole benefits too. Each person willing to grow and do more will naturally aid the growth and success of the company. The company comes to be known as one that recognizes and appreciates the capabilities, talents and skills of its employees thereby attracting the best talent, keeping them with the company for long and also ensuring that customers receive the best of service and the most innovative and high quality products. With both employees and customers supporting a company – don’t you think it would be a company that would be hard to beat? Competitors will be left tearing their hair out!

We are certain that there are many more advantages for a company that is able to teach its management to delegate authority.  This management technique must be put to good use and the people who can delegate tasks must be asked to do so regularly – whenever feasible and suitable to the needs of all involved.

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