Delegation- The Art of Getting Work Done efficiently

Too stressed and overloaded with work Get the work done through others!

Yes, the title might sound a little negative to you, but be patient to realize that getting the work done through others is not always so negative after all. It is in fact a skill that a leader or manager must possess. It is the skill of delegation. Delegation refers to the process by which authority passes from one administrative or managerial level to another. It is the entrustment of authority and responsibility to others. Didn’t we encounter this even in the smallest of sets up, for example our school itself? The head girl or boy would give certain set of responsibilities and duties to the students’ council members and the house captains, especially during annual fests, science exhibitions or sports meet. Even in college, the structure remains the same; with the President of the college delegating work to the organizing committee in times of academic meets and cultural fests. And with the growing size and complexity of organizations, delegation becomes all the more necessary, as an individual can perform only a limited amount of work, and must hence share his or her work with others. Good delegation saves time, develops confidence and skills among employees, expands the amount of work that can be delivered in a specified period of time and also grooms a successor leader or manager. Whereas bad delegation or no delegation can lead to overload of work for one person, frustration, wastage of time, non-completion of task in time etc.

Delegation involves a few basic processes; the definition of the task and determination of the results expected, assignment of tasks, delegation of authority for the accomplishment of these tasks by agreeing on deadlines, the exaction of their accomplishment and giving feedback on the results. This type of delegation is formal delegation. Delegation can also be informal, where the subordinate is willing to carry out the orders of the superior or where team members entrust others in the team with responsibilities and authority, informally. This kind of delegation works in the set ups I had mentioned earlier, like schools etc. Let me give you a quick checklist for appropriate delegation; delegated tasks must be ‘SMART’:
S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Agreed
R: Realistic
T: Time bound

But wait! What if employees show resistance, maybe due to lack of proper information on the job, lack of skills, training, self-confidence, or lack of incentive? This is where the skill of the manager needs to be put into effect. The managers should be able to motivate people to do willingly what he wants done; appreciation, promotion, rewards and a good working environment can help keep the employees motivated. The manager must have faith in the subordinates and must not doubt their potentials. He or she should also not have the fear that the subordinates might outshine them but rather be proud in their excellence. A culture of openness, trust, confidence, team work and cooperation should be enhanced in the workplace. The delegation should be complete and well informed wherein the employees have complete knowledge about what is asked of them. But the manager’s work doesn’t end with just stating the delegated tasks. He or she continues to be accountable. If someone goes wrong somewhere with the delegated set of tasks, the manager must be able to come up with corrective mechanisms. With the support of each other, the manager and the employees can successfully accomplish tasks and goals for the benefit of the organization. Someone had correctly said the following:

“Even “Super You” needs help and support. There is no shame is asking for assistance. Push aside the pride and show respect for the talent others can bring to the table. And remember there is no such thing as a single-handed success: when you include and acknowledge all those in your corner, you propel yourself, your teammates and supporters to great heights.”

So if you are overloaded with work, delegate! Because delegation can take the manager, employees and the whole organization to great heights of success by completing tasks on time with effectiveness and efficiency. So set your ego aside (in case you have any), generate trust for others and get the ball rolling with delegation!

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