Improving Your Team : Delegating

Delegation is critical to the success of your unit or organization. A leader or manager must recognize that he or she cannot do all of the work alone. To illustrate the point, let's look at two units in the same company. Both managers are faced with a tight deadline to get a certain project done for the company. The first manager understands the critical time element involved. Because time is so tight, he won't have time later to go back to reconsider and recheck work. He's noticed a few mistakes his team members have made in the past, so he opts to do most of the project himself.

The second manager also understands the critical time element and that there isn't much time to review the work before turning it in. However, she feels she can accomplish more by breaking the project into specific parts and delegating each part to a member of her group. That frees her to check the work, since she, too, has noticed some mistakes from her group in the past. Both managers turned in their projects at the same time. However, the second manager's project was much more complete, thoughtful, and effective than the first manager's, who overburdened himself and ended up sacrificing quality to just get the job done.


Plain English:  Delegation, in this context, means sharing tasks and authority with your team to more effectively and quickly accomplish goals—for example, breaking a job down into simpler parts and assigning those parts to different people in your group.

Most managers think that they already delegate responsibilities in their group. However, too often the tasks that end up being delegated are mundane, tedious, or extremely difficult. To keep your group's interest level up, try delegating some of the more interesting and exciting tasks. Sure, it may mean that you have to give up something that you would have preferred to do yourself, such as attend a business conference in a tropical locale, but you'll raise morale by showing your team that you are willing to share the better assignments.