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Published on May 12, 2020

Delegation of Authority: The Complete Guide for Effective Leaders

Delegation of Authority: The Complete Guide for Effective Leaders

Do you absolutely hate failing?

Well, you’re in luck because today, you’ll learn the art of how to tackle failure in your work life.

The magic trick is called delegation of authority.

Failure is usually a result of excess burden. When you take on more than you can, you are unable to perform well even if you have the expertise to do it perfectly. It’s demotivating, a waste of time, and extremely annoying.

Let’s take a deep look into the delegation of authority to figure out how to make the most of it.

What Does It Mean to Delegate Authority?

Delegating authority is neither magic nor rocket science. It is exactly what it means: division of workload and distribution of power.

Now, this is where most superiors get worried. They misunderstand the idea and believe that distribution will take away their authority.

Here’s the thing, the division and distribution of authority are like giving the entire team autonomy over their own job. But their control is limited to just that.

The superior still has supremacy over all the employees.

Authority delegation minimizes the workload of the superior. This work is broken down into smaller tasks and spread out into a team so that one every member works simultaneously to finish the project in a shorter time.

3 Elements of Delegating Authority

The delegation of authority has three elements:

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1. Assigning Responsibility

This is the first step in the process. A person who is in charge, such as a manager or a team leader, assigns other team members certain tasks that have to be completed in a given period. Of course, this is only possible if the superior has more control and authority in the work environment than the subordinates.

2. Granting Authority

The next step is to give the subordinates enough authority for them to fulfill their assigned task.

So, let’s say you are a supervisor who allocated one person in your team to do a certain task. This assignment will be useless to you if the subordinate has to come to you every step of the way to get permission and signatures required to fulfill the allocated job.

Unless you’re giving authority, you aren’t delegating. Instead, you’re only assigning a task and that won’t bring you any benefits.

Also, granting authority puts the subordinate in-charge. This person is now responsible for doing what they’re assigned however they like. It is up to them how they tackle obstacles. All that you, as the supervisor, should be concerned about are the final results.

3. Maintaining Accountability

There’s always a risk that some team members may not act responsibly, especially when they have been given authority over the assigned task. This is why you have to make every employee or team member accountable.

The superior must always have 100% right to ask the responsible person about their task. Creating an accountability culture in a company is important, and accountability goes upwards in the hierarchy of a work environment. Never offer any leniency in this regard if you want to ensure quality outputs.

This step of giving and receiving feedback helps improve the future work ethic immensely.[1]

Why Is It Important to Delegate Authority?

A lot of times, superiors take on all the duties because they have a hard time trusting someone else to do the job as well as they would do themselves.

That’s a valid concern, and it may keep you from getting the most out of authority delegation.

But, with this risk comes a long list of benefits. It is actually important to delegate authority for the betterment of your organization and team.

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Superiors Can Perform Better

The most important benefit of delegating authority is that superiors get the time to do their actual job.

As a supervisor, your first duty is to maintain the flow of your team. With your workload minimized and more time at hand, you can pay attention to the minor details.

It gives supervisors the time to look at the more important stuff. Simultaneously, they get a chance to test which team members are most efficient.

In case of any problem, the delegator has enough room in their schedule to sit down to figure out a solution.

All in all, it leads to a more efficient performance from the supervisor’s side.

Subordinates Learn With the Flow

With a degree of authority in their hand, the subordinates begin to feel useful and important. This feeling is the most important route to improvement.

As your subordinates work independently, they not only improve their existing skills, but they also perform better. Since they are ones in control, they are the only ones accountable for everything they put at the table. This sense of responsibility provides the mandatory boost of motivation.[2]

Moreover, with authority delegation, the superiors and subordinates work on the same level to a certain extent. This allows the team members to learn from their supervisors while also polishing their knowledge practically.

Leads to Better Relationships

If you’re in charge of any team, work as a manager, or own an organization that you run, you already know why employee-employer relationships are vital.

The same applies to every workgroup.

So, even if you’re just one small group of 5 people in a multi-national organization, the rules are coherent. You should deal with the group of 5 as your employees and you act as the employer. This is in terms of relationship building.

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By letting go of some responsibilities and giving individuals a chance to grow, you’re spreading positive work vibes. It all works in a cycle where you give the team some authority, they feel important and outperform, your trust in them strengthens, and you continue to delegate authority moving forward.

5 Tips to Delegate Authority Effectively

There is a whole mechanism that supports the delegation of authority.

If done right, this concept has numerous advantages. However, the key is that it’s done right.

1. Choose the Best Person

It’s not easy to trust another person to do something that you would have preferred to do yourself. That is why it is crucial that you only delegate a task to someone that you have full faith in.

The easiest way to do this is to pre-asses every team member’s skills and qualities. In your mind, have a clear idea of who does what best. So, if there is one particular individual who excels at technology, you will know where to go every time there’s a job related to that skill.

Once you’re satisfied with who is in control, more than half of the issue is resolved and things will most likely go smoothly.

2. Offer Enough Autonomy

One huge mistake you may make is to break down tasks way too much.

Let’s say your team of 10 people has to arrange an office party for 100 people. You have to manage the location, decorations, food, and furniture.

You can either assign 4 individuals each of the 4 main jobs, or you can divide each component further into small tasks.

In the case of the latter, tasks will overlap, things will get confusing, and none of your team members will have full control over their assigned task.

This generally leads to a final result that is extremely non-coherent.

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3. Clear Communication

A major aspect of delegation is the availability of clear instructions. From details of the task to deadlines, the person who has to fulfill the job should be clear on every single detail.

Unless they know what’s expected from them, they will never be able to satisfy the delegator.

4. Avoid Unnecessary Pressure

Yes, diamonds only form after the charcoal is put under immense pressure. But honestly, you don’t need to implement that strategy in your work environment when delegating authority.

Offer plenty of time and flexibility for each individual to be able to offer their best performance.

Some people may work better under pressure. But in that case, let the individual make that decision for themselves.

5. Offer a Helping Hand

Just because you’ve given someone else the task and power does not mean you have to back off completely.

In fact, you should try to be a part of the process but only from outside a defined boundary. This is something you’ll have to figure out practically as per the needs of your work environment.

The important point is that if someone you delegated a task to is facing an issue, do not refuse to help. Offer advice and support readily so that your team can learn from you. It will end up benefiting your organization.

Final Thoughts

Conclusively, it is safe to say that delegation of authority is truly a very helpful technique to adopt in workplaces. It allows for a positive working environment as well as fruitful results.

It’s something that all leaders should implement to achieve a time-efficient and productive workspace!

More on the Importance of Delegation

Featured photo credit: Dylan Gillis via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 10, 2020

15 Simple Things You Can Do To Turn Your Life Around

15 Simple Things You Can Do To Turn Your Life Around

Life can be difficult. It can seem like nothing goes your way and the world is against you. The world can be a very cruel and lonely place. But there are things that you can do to begin turning your life around.

Whether you’re in a job you hate, struggling with a loss, or just not on the path you expected, only you hold the key to turning your life around. Here are 15 simple things you can do to turn your life around.

1. Read Daily

Reading lets you escape to a different place within your mind. It can be relaxing and calming. And it helps stimulate brain activity and keeps you sharp.

Reading daily can help you spend time away from the problems of the day and allow you to escape into a world of endless possibilities. Changing your perspective can help you turn around your life, and reading is a great place to start.

Here’re some recommendations: 20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You

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2. Put Your Goals in Writing

When thoughts are banging around in our heads, they can easily slip away. Walk from one room to another and you forget what you were doing!

Make sure your goals are concrete and written down. This will help you stay accountable to yourself and is the first step in completing your goal. By writing it on a piece of paper, you must put in the thought of how you should word it, what exactly you want to accomplish, and will make you consider if it’s truly worth it.

3. Prune Your Relationships

Too often, relationships can be destructive. This is often looked at through the scope of romantic relationships, but also consider life-long friends, family, and acquaintances. Are the people you spend time with bringing you down? Are they helping you achieve your goals or hindering? It can be difficult, but pruning your relationships can be the quickest catalyst in turning your life around.

4. Make New Friends

Don’t underestimate how a new person or group of friends in your life can change your outlook. Be open to meeting new people, both at work and in your personal life.

5. Get Healthy

When you feel great, good things seem to come your way. Working out helps you feel better about yourself and can help change your outlook on life. Eating right can help you have the energy to do more. Getting healthy can improve your entire outlook on life and help turn your life around.

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6. Start Saving

For many, financial struggle can weigh heavy and be the cause of many problems. Without a change of job or career, changing your financial situation will take time and effort. Start saving with each paycheck to help build toward your future. Even if it’s a small amount each check, consistency in saving can help you change your path in the future.

7. Start a Business

Working for others can be tough. You may be underemployed, under-utilized, and under-appreciated. Starting a business can help you take control of your financial future.

Understand that you don’t have to quit your current job to start a business. Find something you love and have skills at and do it in your free time. If you’re in creative services, freelance. If you’re great at carpentry, build tables to sell. If you are a talented painter or crafty, start an Etsy store.

You may find that your side passion business can turn into more. Or, if you have the opportunity and skills, take the plunge and go all in. Working for yourself is challenging, but a great opportunity to change your life.

Here’re some tips for you: How to Start a Small Business with Little to No Money

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8. Find Opportunities to Help Others

Helping others can change your outlook and help turn your life around. Changing the way you think about the world can play a part. But helping others can also open up doors you never had available. Being a good person can help you get out of a funk and can be the catalyst for change.

9. Learn a New Skill

When you have more skills, additional opportunities will be presented. If you’re tired of your blue collar job, take classes to learn computer skills. If you’re struggling to move up in your company, find a skill that makes you more valuable. And if you want financial freedom, learn a skill that can help you change your life. Knowledge is power.

10. Stop Watching TV

Watching TV can keep you distracted and take up a lot of time. Cutting out the time you spend watching TV and replacing it with more productive activities can help you accomplish more and stay focused.

11. Listen to Inspirational Content

You can learn much about yourself from others. Find inspirational and educational content that matches your needs and give it a listen. You may find that the advice from others in similar situations can give you the boost you need to change your life.

12. Stop Complaining

Negative thoughts and talk can turn people against you and make your outlook grim. Stop complaining so much and make the best out of your situation.

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13. Find or Rekindle Your Passion

Doing what you love can change your entire outlook on life. When you’re doing things you hate, you can be more stressed and make life much harder than it needs to be. Find things you’re passionate about and rekindle the love for what you enjoyed in the past. Doing what you love can turn your life around and make each day more rewarding.

14. Take a Vacation (or Staycation)

Sometimes, hitting the reset button is all it takes to improve your situation. Taking a vacation, or staycation, is a great way to get away from the stress of the daily grind and recharge your battery. A vacation can give you the perspective you need to change your life.

15. Re-evaluate Your Attitude

How you view the world will often reflect in how you treat yourself. Re-evaluate your attitude and ensure that you’re doing all you can to make the most out of every situation. A change in how you view your situation can often be the push that helps you change your life for the better.

More Tips to Help You Change Your Life

Featured photo credit: Conner Ching via unsplash.com

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