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The basics of delegation

planningmeeting32337730.jpgAsk any leader and they will tell you that delegation of responsibilities in the work place is essential. But few leaders are able to delegate easily. The process of delegation involves time and effort upfront. The leader must find a way to transfer authority so that teams can work as effectively as possible. The challenge with delegation comes in successfully coupling people, authority, and responsibility. When you are able to appropriately delegate responsibilities you maximize productivity, motivation and individual growth for both team groups and the entire organization.

You can determine whether or not your organization is in need of more delegation by asking yourself the following questions. As a leader, do you spend your time on project that other people could do? Are you in need of developing stronger team dynamics by delegating? Do you have a method of monitoring the progress of the projects that you delegate without interfering with the progress being made?

Most leaders who may not have previously been delegating their responsibilities to other will likely answer in the affirmative to all of the above mentioned questions. The next step is to uncover why it is that delegation is so hard for these individuals. Identifying the barriers that you face when deciding whether or not to delegate some responsibility is the first step in overcoming obstacles. Once you have taken that first step, you can begin to identify responsibilities that can and should be delegated. The next step is to determine the most effective method of allocating those responsibilities. The trick is to delegate to the right people for the job and then to facilitate the appropriate amount of support needed to see that the assignment delegated was being carried out as necessary. For some managers it is helpful to come up with a set of criteria that is used to fit people to various tasks and responsibilities. Other leaders find that watching conduct and having discussions with individuals is enough to be able to determine what sorts of projects could be handled were you to delegate responsibility to that individual. One of the hardest parts of this delegation process for those who are out of practice when it comes to re-assigning responsibility, is knowing when to get involved and when to stop getting in the way. The whole point of delegation is to assign a project to another individual so that you can dedicate your attention to other responsibilities. If you fail to fully let go of that responsibility because you are constantly looking over the shoulder of the individual delegated to, you are missing the point of delegation and are definitely not getting the full benefit of the delegation process.

The process of learning how to delegate can definitely be a difficult one. Many leaders follow a delegation cycle where they realize the need to delegate, try to re-assign work, find that the work is not being done to their satisfaction and then re-assume the duties that they had delegated. As their work load continues to increase and there is again the need to re-distribute a work load, the individual who is not really willing to delegate then repeats this cycle. The hesitation that we have to delegate is really out downfall in these situations. Although you may believe that you can do a job better than another, the point of delegation is that you cannot do everything. You must find a way to decide on the best candidates (not necessarily perfect candidates) for a job and to make a decision for whom to delegate to. The last necessary adjustment is in providing the right level of support and authority to those who have taken on delegated tasks.

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Posted by DF
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