The Power of Delegation
Delegation is a management tool that can be used to empower or when abused can be a detrimental force in a company. Delegation can aid employee growth and development while getting the job done efficiently. The true purpose of delegation is to accomplish the task by assigning it to someone else (Blair, 1992). Many misunderstand the concept of delegation and therefore either will not delegate or improperly apply the principle which provides unsuccessful results.
The primary reason to delegate tasks is to get the work done. The manager must be wise enough to know that he or she cannot be everywhere and do everything. A manager must also realize that along with the assignment of the job to the subordinate, the authority to complete the task must also be given. The delegation of authority is the hardest, most difficult part for some in management positions. If the task is assigned without the authority to use independent discretion the result is frustration and incomplete production. The manager must clearly communicate the expected result also ensure that the subordinate is properly trained and/or has the required skills needed to accomplish the assigned task.
Communication is a major component of successful delegation. A system of regular exchanges of information between management and employees ensure that each party is aware of what others are doing (Blair, 1992).
My current employer is a nonprofit organization, which is run by a Chief Executive Officer/President who was hired 22 years ago. Her background is in education, as a principal, with a master’s degree in Education Administration. The CEO answers to a board of directors, which have been very good at delegating the responsibilities of running the corporation to the CEO. The board meets monthly to receive reports on the activities and financial status of the facility but other than that have no real hands-on role in the management of the company.
The CEO has a very different approach to delegation than the board of directors; she tends to micro-manage her staff. Her idea of delegation leans more to assignment of a task and proceeding to dictate exactly how she desires the task to be accomplished or assigns the task without giving authority to carry it out. The CEO makes assignments to members of her Corporate Leadership Team (program directors and department heads) who then assign the tasks to managers and direct supervisors (mid-level staff). Both methods usually end in frustration of mid-level staff who attempt to complete assignments without being able to follow through to the end because it must return to the CEO for final approval. In many cases when the CEO has communicated to the CLT her wishes on how a project is to be completed, that person fails to precisely communicate the direction to the manager who is the end delegate. One solution to this problem would be more direct communication between the CEO and the final...