Delegation: Guiding Principles

Your goals in delegating are to:

  • Provide opportunities for growth and development
  • Empower staff by letting them be responsible for the work
  • Increase morale and self-confidence
  • Give yourself more time to concentrate on staff and other management issues
  • Enhance creativity and skills
  • Increase staff involvement and commitment to the job

Resistance to Delegation

Understanding why you may be reluctant to delegate tasks and why staff members may be reluctant to accept them will help you be a more effective delegator. The reluctance to delegate tasks is understandable because you still retain accountability. Sometimes you may feel the transfer of a task involves a certain degree of risk. Your staff may also be thinking about the risk; they are afraid that they may be criticized if they fail. Some common reasons why managers and supervisors avoid delegation are:

  • They are afraid the employee may make mistakes
  • They think it takes too much time to delegate
  • They feel that completing the task themselves would be more efficient
  • They are concerned about losing control
  • They fear that employees will resent delegation

Choosing Projects or Tasks to Delegate

Choose the projects and tasks you delegate carefully to make sure you are balancing the risk with the potential rewards. You may want to delegate tasks that meet the following criteria:

  • All necessary information is available to your employee
  • The parameters are clear
  • The task does not involve responsibilities traditionally associated with management (i.e., hiring, performance appraisals, disciplinary action)