Delegation: How to Delegate Effectively?

Principles of Management
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Best Practices
Genevieve Northup
Editor, Germany

Delegation: How to Delegate Effectively?

Fayol’s 13nd principle ("Initiative") is linked to the management role of delegator. Kreitner (2009) defines "delegation" as: the transfer of decision-making authority to subordinates (p. 253).

Sadly, many managers mistake passing on “tasks,” not “responsibilities” as delegation (Gallo, 2012). The result is overstressed managers and less satisfied employees who do not believe they have “ownership” of projects (Gallo, 2012). As a result, initiative is low.

Pfeffer (as cited in Gallo, 2012) explains that managers are often trapped in the “self-enhancement bias,” afraid they may appear as less integral to corporate success if they delegate. Introspection is necessary to accept and overcome this issue, recognizing that the greater benefit comes from delegating, which gives managers to have more time to address critical issues and subordinates feel like they are a part of the big picture.

Kreitner (2009) emphasized that delegation is not an “all-or-nothing proposition” and managers can ease into the process (p. 253). There are several degrees of delegation, beginning with asking employees to research issues and report findings to managers and ending with allowing employees to research issues, and develop and implement solutions (Kreitner, 2009, P. 253).

Through proper delegation, employee initiative is cultivated and competencies are leveraged for organizational success.

Gallo (2012) said that managers should implement the following tips for effective delegation:
  1. SELECT RIGHT PEOPLE: Select employees with the knowledge and willpower to take on responsibilities.
  2. BE ACCOUNTABLE: Give your direct reports permission to hold you as their manager accountable for delegating properly and include such role in their annual performance appraisal.
  3. ENABLE: “Really let go”, by giving employees the tools and training to take on projects and make decisions from start to finish.
⇒ If you have any additional tips or suggestions on delegation, please share…

Gallow, Amy. (2012, July 26). Why Aren’t you Delegating? Harvard Business Review, July 2012
Kreitner, R. (2009). Management. (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin

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