Tip #14: Delegation is a Leadership Skill

March 4, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

Delegating is a skill that all leaders need to maximize their effectiveness. Delegating benefits the team leader, the team member, and the organization. Successful delegation raises the team leader's output as soon as he/she begins to achieve results through the multiplied efforts of others. When others perform tasks that the team leader has assigned, the team leader gains time for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.

Additionally, delegation provides the team leader with the chance to strengthen the departmental team by creating growth opportunities for individuals. Team members who are assigned new duties get a chance to learn and to show what they can do. Also, they get a better perspective of what's going on in the organization. As team members grow, so does the team leader's reputation as an effective team leader.

Here are some tips on how you can delegate effectively:

1. Select the right person. Pick someone who has the basic ability and interest in the task and someone for whom you can make sufficient working time available.
2. Give the team member sufficient background on the assignment. Knowing the purpose of each aspect will enable the delegate to take the right action if unforeseen circumstances occur.
3. Confirm understanding. Have the delegate explain back to you what the task is, the limits of responsibility and authority, and the time limit for completion of the task.
4. Release the delegate to do the task. Provide the delegate with the time and resources to perform the assignment and trust him/her to do the job.
5. Call for progress reports and schedule reviews. Releasing the team member to do the job does not mean that you should delegate and forget it. Mistakes can be minimized and confidence built through progress reviews.