The Art of Delegation

By on January 28, 2020

MIKE CAMERON from Strategically Yours writes on the Art of Delegation.

Delegation of Authority – A formal definition:

The Delegation of Authority is a process through which a manager, supervisor or team leader assigns responsibility to a subordinate to carry out the work on their behalf. Also, a certain authority is delegated to the subordinate to the extent that it is sufficient to accomplish the assigned responsibility.

In my view, the Delegation of Authority is a key workplace competency that, when applied appropriately, aids trust and team building, empowerment and a team member’s personal growth and development.

Following are some practical thoughts on the ‘how to’ of successfully delegating responsibilities which you may find of interest and easy to use.

While you may have already heard of the goal-setting acronym S.M.A.R.T. (in all its various forms), few people appreciate that it can be applied equally as effectively when used to check on whether or not a task can be, or has been, effectively and appropriately delegated.

Check out the following simple, mental-checking, process and apply it every time you delegate a task – the outcome for which you are accountable:

  • S = SPECIFIC Check that the task/activity you are delegating is clearly defined and understood by the person who will be carrying it out. Give that person an opportunity to seek clarity, where necessary, and answer all their queries openly and with understanding.
  • M = MEASURABLE Ensure that you clearly identify what outcome you are expecting in terms of appearance/quality, cost (if appropriate) and the time by which the task/activity must be completed.
  • A = ACHIEVABLE Check that the person has the resources, tools, knowledge/skills and ability to complete the task/activity to the standard required. Ask open questions and seek clarity of understanding.
  • R = REALISTIC Ensure that there is adequate time, availability of resources and a general willingness for the task/activity to be completed. Check the person’s ‘To Do List’ or daily ‘Duty Roster’ and, if necessary (and in agreement with that person) re-allocate priorities and/or less important tasks/ activities to others.
  • T = TANGIBLE Check if the person regards the delegated task/activity as one of importance and/or benefit to them in the longer term (career-wise).

Note: Feeling good about oneself through being given additional levels of responsibility are often powerful motivators and a tangible reward, especially when acknowledged as a ‘job well done’ by their manager, supervisor or a team leader.

The ‘Art of Delegation’ is a very simple, yet effective method of gaining clarity about the task/activity being delegated, identifying its importance in the scheme of things. It supports and leads towards the empowerment of team members through open support and trust building.

Try it out when next you need to delegate some of your authority to a member of your team for the completion of a task, the outcome of which you have accountability.

Mike Cameron
0417 782 781

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