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Delegation & Empowerment

Last post November 11, 2008 09:04 AM by sangeeta_shetty. 1 repiles.

November 11, 2008 08:54 AM 1
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Delegation & Empowerment

Dear All,

My Boss has requested me to take an hour long session on Delegation & Empowerment addressing to all Functional Heads and Director.

Kindly provide me with Tips, Text or PPT whatever possible ASAP.

Response waited eagerly.


November 11, 2008 09:042
Total Posts: 24
Join Date: November 11, 2008
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Post Date: November 11, 2008
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Re: Delegation & Empowerment

Hi benadict,

This is a mixture of two diffrent articles, but since it was interrelated I have mixed them and tried to present a good and informative article. The authors of the original articles are:- Gerard M. Blair(The Art of Delegation )and Richard C. Rierdan.(The Fine Art Of Delegation)

I would love to hear your views and suggestions regarding this article and the subject matter.

The Fine Art of Delegation

Delegation is a skill of which we have all heard - but which few understand. It can be used either as an excuse for dumping failure onto the shoulders of subordinates, or as a dynamic tool for motivating and training your team to realize their full potential.

"I delegate myne auctorite" (Palsgrave 1530)

Everyone knows about delegation. Most managers hear about it in the cradle as mother talks earnestly to the baby-sitter: "just enjoy the television ... this is what you do if ... if there is any trouble call me at ..."; people have been writing about it for nearly half a millennium; yet few actually understand it.

Delegation underpins a style of management which allows your staff to use and develop their skills and knowledge to the full potential. Without delegation, you lose their full value.

As the ancient quotation above suggests, delegation is primarily about entrusting your authority to others. This means that they can act and initiate independently; and that they assume responsibility with you for certain tasks. If something goes wrong, you remain responsible since you are the manager; the trick is to delegate in such a way that things get done but do not go (badly) wrong.

The objective of delegation is to get the job done by someone else. Not just the simple tasks of reading instructions and turning a lever, but also the decision making and changes which depend upon new information. With delegation, your staff have the authority to react to situations without referring back to you.

To enable someone else to do the job for you, you must ensure that:

they know what you want
they have the authority to achieve it
they know how to do it.
These all depend upon communicating clearly the nature of the task, the extent of their discretion, and the sources of relevant information and knowledge.

Delegation, not Abdication.

Many executives delegate like this. They say, "John, would you take on this project? It has to be done by next Thursday. Thanks." That's it. Then, when the job comes back incomplete, they are infuriated. What happened? They left out accountability. They neglected the structure for making sure things happened according to plan.

There are five components to successful delegation.

1. Give the job to someone who can get it done.

This doesn't mean that person has all the skills for execution, but that they are able to martial the right resources. Sometimes the first step in the project will be education. Maybe your delegate has to attend a seminar or take a course to get up to speed.

2. Communicate precise conditions of satisfaction.

Time frame, outcomes, budget constraints, etc.; all must be spelled out. Anything less creates conditions for failure. It's like the old story about basketball - without nets the players don't know where to shoot the ball.

3. Work out a plan.

Depending on the project's complexity, the first step may be creation of a plan. The plan should include resources, approach or methodology, timeline, measures and milestones. Even simple projects require a plan.

4. Set up a structure for accountability.

If the project is to take place over the next six weeks, schedule an interim meeting two weeks from now. Or establish a weekly conference call, or an e-mailed status report. Provide some mechanism where you can jointly evaluate progress and make mid-course corrections. This helps keep the project, and the people, on track.

5. Get buy in.

Often time frames are dictated by external circumstances. Still, your delegate must sign on for the task at hand. If you say, "This must be done by next Tuesday," they have to agree that it is possible. Ask instead. "Can you have this by Tuesday?" To you this may seem a bit remedial, but the step is often overlooked. Whenever possible, have your delegate set the timeline and create the plan. You need only provide guidance and sign off. As General Patton said, "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

Steps in Delegation

Preparing for Delegation

There are two sides to the delegation preparation process. First, a manager must be prepared to let go of the need to implement the actual project itself, and second, the subordinate(s) must be prepared to accept it. Let's face it. No one can do your job as well as you can, particularly if he or she is not trained to do so. As a result, you may fail to take the time for developing a strategy to effectively delegate tasks and projects.

Delegation is not simply asking somebody to perform an activity to help you finish your project. Certainly, there are times when you will ask someone else to copy a document or make a telephone call for you, or even perform tasks of a delicate and complicated nature. But true delegation requires that you actually give over the responsibility for the whole task or project, along with the necessary authority to get it done

Developing Willing Employees

Employees cannot be expected to take responsibility for work they have not been trained to do. An effective manager of people starts out early by selecting people that can be trained to take more responsibility. This training is done by first giving small amounts of responsibility to a worker or a team of workers, monitoring their progress, and making corrections where necessary.

In some situations, reorganizing your group's work assignments may go hand in hand with selecting the proper people with whom to begin the delegation process. First, do a study of the group's workload as a whole. The idea is to find out how work is now allocated and how much time is available to do new, developmental tasks. It's a good idea to involve the group in this process by having them meet together with you to create a work flow diagram, and for each member to assess the time it takes for him or her to do their portion. Letting the group decide how to reallocate work so that the unit can run more efficiently is often a good idea.

Delegate Duties for Training

It has been shown that about 75 percent of employees want more responsibility. It is important, however, that this increased responsibility leads to something positive for them. New assignments, then, should encompass as much skill development as possible. The following are three delegation criteria that could be beneficial for employee development:

Delegate assignments that he or she needs to strengthen special weaknesses. Nobody is likely to have just the right mix of skills to do a delegated assignment exactly to your liking. By selecting the proper assignment to delegate, you can help a subordinate correct weaknesses and develop compensatory skills.

Delegate a variety of duties to test your employee's versatility and add interest to his or her job . Variety in a job makes it more interesting. Too many details can overburden and kill interest altogether, however, so add spice carefully.

Delegate duties that could lead directly to promotion. Everyone performs better when they know that their performance may lead to better things.

Three-Stage Delegating

The usual method of delegating is the sink-or-swim method. "Here's the job. Let's see if you can handle it." Done this way, the odds are you will get a sinker. A better method is to be a coach. Coaches neither run onto the field to take over the job nor do they leave the players to their own devices. They offer expertise, new methods, continual training, support and pep talks. They want everyone to be a winner. Coaches get their satisfaction from putting the team together and standing behind it.

Plan your delegating just as you would any other important training function of the company. Use the act of delegating as a training function, preparing team members to take on added responsibility. When the goals and the ways to reach them have been agreed upon, step aside and wait for the first report. Not everyone is ready to take on a fully delegated task. Classify your people into these three categories and delegate accordingly.

Hand Holding. New or untried people in your organization don't want to be thrown to the wolves and you would probably be uncomfortable letting them go unsupervised on a newly delegated task. For a time, until you are both comfortable, be a partner in the task, participating in the decisions, checking along the way. Do this in your best participative style, remembering that the purpose of this relationship is to train members of the group to carry the ball on their own.

Consulting. When you and they both feel ready, let them go off on their own. Let them feel free to come to you whenever they want help and information. Use your best coaching techniques, but remain outside the project, only responding when called upon. This gives your people the feeling of being supported without constricting their style.
Hands Off. This is for employees who feel confident in their abilities and whom your really trust to do the job right. Delegate the total project and step aside. This is your chance to get back to more creative work. Wait for results.

Last, and by no means least, praise people for doing a good job! Whenever you can, find a reason to be supportive and do it in a clear way. Telling employees they are doing a job well is one of the most important things you can do.

Keep The Assignment Delegated!

One of the most common reasons for the delegation process to fail is that the manager takes the work back! This must be avoided. Once you take back a delegated assignment, it increases the odds that other delegated work will end up back on your desk.

Here are some of the reasons managers take back delegated work. Many of these can be avoided with proper preparation.

The scope of the project was not properly outlined. Don't hand off an assignment until you are sure that every question the employee has been answered. The better you planned and prepared your briefing, of course, the fewer but more precise questions you will get.

The employee loses confidence in his or her ability to do the assignment. Remember, it is your job to be supportive and available if you want delegation to work. This may be the case if this is the first time that your delegatee has been asked to take responsibility and work independently. Handholding is critical here. Sincere praise can work wonders in these situations as well.

The manager didn't really delegate the project. You must be sure that your subordinate takes ownership of this project. Encourage them to search for solutions to the problems that inevitably come up, and be available to answer questions. They should be aware that the responsibility for the assignment's completion belongs to them.

The assignment went to the wrong person. Occasionally you can make a mistake in matching people to projects. Rather than taking it back, assign it to somebody else and prepare another more suitable assignment for the person for whom it was a mismatch. If you have prepared well, this will rarely happen.

The Last Step

The process of delegation accomplishes two tasks that are essential to becoming a better manager. The first is that it gets your desk clear for you to perform more managerial and fewer clerical or routine tasks. Second, it creates an opportunity for you to interact with your employees on a less structured and routine basis, opening the door for more motivational interactions and training. Needless to say, there is no effective delegation without proper follow-up. You will need to evaluate the improvement in your delegation skills on an ongoing basis.

It may take awhile for your employees to get used to this new way of doing things, so you may be more involved as you get things off the ground. But be patient; you'll be astonished at how quickly employees catch on to a new assignment if you have prepared them for it, and how much more pleasurable your own job becomes when you do.

Hope this would be enough material for you.


Sangeeta Shetty