Emre Sami SÜZER  
Operation Director  
Aktif Mühendislik

Delegation, is the process that enables to assign tasks to people and better manage teams and meet company demands.

Without proper delegation, time & team management will become impossible to achieve for all levels of managers.

I. INTRODUCTION

According to Wikipedia; delegation is the assignment of any responsibility or authority to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. [1]

A general misunderstanding about the process is “after delegation the managers responsibility doesn’t end, he/she is still responsible and accountable for the outcome of the task.

Delegation is one of the main concepts of every company and as well as personal life. It happens all the time whether it occurs intentionally or not. Being an effective delegator helps the manager to control the tasks and the subordinator in an effective way.

II. STEPS OF DELEGATION

Apart from the common knowledge, delegation is not a simple process and it shouldn’t be underestimated. If it is not done by following the required steps, it will make the companies lose valuable time and make employees to become less motivated day by day.

According to PhD. Britt Andreatta there are nine steps of the delegation process and she mentions these steps as the following; [2]

  1. Ensuring the employee will success at the given task.
  2. Clearly identifying the objective and deadline.
  3. Clearly delivering the required authority.
  4. Explaining the value of the task.
  5. Setting checkpoints.
  6. Ensuring the employee understood the task by asking to summarize it.
  7. Making sure that you answered every question they might have.
  8. Offering support and guidance.
  9. Giving feedback on the quality of the job done.

III. PHASES OF DELEGATION

Again PhD. Britt Andreatta mentions four phases of the delegation process and bypassing any of these phases will result in a definite failure.

A. PHASE 1: Evaluation

In this phase; aspects of the organization, delegator’s and employee’s workloads are assessed. This helps to determine what could and should be delegated to whom.

So, in this phase, tasks and employees should be considered and evaluated. If this first phase is skipped, managers will try to do many tasks by themselves and eventually end up in too much work then will try to delegate to others on the last minute which is going to lead in poor quality job and demotivation of the employee.

Generally, manager’s time cost more, so they should use their time to accomplish tasks that requires their expertise & experience and other tasks should be delegated to employees. This will not only help the company to use its human assets effectively but also will give employees the opportunity to grow.

After selecting the task to assess the other important aspect is to choose the right people for the right task. Physiologist have known for a long time that the perception of people is mostly tinted by the recent events. Thus, it is important to start analyzing several months before and write down the performances and skills before deciding.

B. PHASE 2: Handover

At the second phase, the details of the task are handed over to the employee. It is not just handing over the job to be done but also expectations about the goals, resources to be given and timeline to be met.

One of the main resources to be given is the “level of autonomy”, in other words, the independence and dependence the employee has. Ross Webber defined eight levels of autonomy and these are [2]:

Level 1: The delegate has no autonomy in this lowest level. Delegate investigates the problem, gathers the information, and gives it to the manager who makes the decision.

Level 2: Delegate explores the alternatives available, noting the pros and cons of each option. The delegate presents this analysis to the manager, who decides what to do and takes the action.

Level 3: Delegate explores the options and decides, recommending a course of action to the manager. The manager approves the decision and takes the action.

Level 4: Delegate explores the options and makes the decision about a course of action, but delays implementation until the manager approves it. At that point the delegate takes the action.

Level 5: Delegate informs the manager of his or her plans and can act unless the manager says not to.

Level 6: Delegate acts and informs the manager after the fact what was done and how it turned out.

Level 7: Delegate acts and only communicates with the manager if the action was not successful.

Level 8: The delegate has complete autonomy in this highest level. Delegate acts and does not need to communicate anything to the manager

At this phase, steps from 2 to 7 that are mentioned in the second section should be completed properly considering also the current workload of the employee.

Before delegation, it is important to know that employee has access to relevant resources and has required skills. The resources may be reports, data, physical or electronic files, notes, equipment, computer etc.

C. PHASE 3: Support

At this phase, the task has already started, and process is ongoing. One responsibility of the delegator is to give the support needed during the process as a coach not as a manager. This phase consists of the 8th step of the process.

While coaching, it is important to help the delegate use their own skills and reach their own knowledge not by explaining everything but by asking the right questions that makes the delegate to think.

The big mistake that delegator does during this process is micromanagement. Micromanagement described as “attention to small details in management; control of a person or a situation by paying extreme attention to small details.” [4]

Micromanagement

According to Forbes [3], “micromanagement is one of the most damaging habits an executive can have. Teams get bogged down going through laborious procedures, and worse is environment it generates: Groups that adapt to a micromanagement style are either quietly rebellious or hapless, unable to make any independent decisions”.

To avoid micromanagement, managers should [3]:

  1. Avoid being perfectionists. 95-95 rule says that “if managers accept 95% of perfect performance, they will micromanage 95% less.
  2. Set weekly meeting to discuss progress and discuss details only in those weekly meetings.
  3. Forget minutiae and focus on results.
  4. Write down own job task and focus just on it not more.
  5. Create an environment for honest dialogue by opening the door for delegates to regularly provide feedback to manager, positive or negative.
  6. Hire the best talent with the right capabilities.
  7. Shift from manager to leader by expanding your view and become more strategic. Let go of the details and trust your employees to handle the tasks.
  8. Pretend it is the day before vacations. This will allow you to focus on just the critical items and ones most likely only you can accomplish.

D. PHASE 4: Debrief

Debrief should be the final stage, the final step of the delegation process and should be done when task is completed. Debrief phase is a meeting between the parties and highlights what worked well, what could have been better and what the delegate learnt during the process.

The debrief will help delegator and delegate gain valuable insights that helps both parties and the organization in the future and further delegations will become smoother and more effective.

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