Delegation is vital for successful management and organization. It not only saves time but also motivates teams as well as developing them for the future.
If not handled effectively, delegation can lead to demotivation, frustration, and a failure to complete tasks. This is, unfortunately, the case in too many businesses and organizations.
Want to improve your delegation skills? Thankfully, there are 6 levels of delegation you can follow to do this. It’s crucial to follow all six – many managers follow only the first couple and then wonder why their employees aren’t getting the work done.
Follow these six steps and see your delegation skills improve, and your team’s productivity flourish!
Why Effective Delegation is Important
Before we look at these 6 levels of delegation, it’s good to know why delegation is essential to those managing a team.
Keep Teams Feeling in Control
The more complex an organization is, the more critical it is to have control spread out across multiple people. This is backed up in research. Many prefer not to “lose control,” so it is important to allow people to feel that they control some aspect of their situation. This is one reason why delegation can be a useful tool in managing a team.
Teams feel most motivated when they feel that they are a valued part of the process and that their contributions are valued. Delegating tasks to team members shows that not only do you value their work, but you also trust them to use their best judgment.
Helps In Training New Management
Delegation is also a great way of training and developing a potential successor. Every successful organization needs a continuity of leadership. Delegation is a way of handing management tasks to a potential successor and allowing them to delegate to teams as well.
The best delegation saves huge amounts of time. When a large task is split up into smaller ones and delegated to team members, then the task is more likely to be completed on time and efficiently.
Giving Authority is Key
An important aspect of delegation is showing your employees that you trust them to finish a job. To that end, it is crucial to remember that when you delegate a task to an employee, give them the authority to finish it.
Too many times a manager will delegate a job to a supervisor or team leader and not authorize them to sign off a job as complete. This ties their hands and negates many of the motivational benefits of delegation.
Delegation Comes in Degrees
Remember that delegation comes in degrees, depending on how experienced the employee is. If you have a worker with plenty of potential for promotion at some point, then you can gauge how ready they are for responsibility by delegating and increasing the amount of responsibility being sent their way.
This can be discussed with the employee, and if they feel they are not ready for the responsibility, then the delegation can be eased off slightly.
The 6 Levels of Delegation
The six levels of delegation can help you to develop effective delegation skills. They can be used to not only save time but also increase productivity and efficiency.
Level 1: Do As I Say
This is the basis of all delegation. It may seem simple, but it can take time to master. Often, entrepreneurs and employers think that they will end up just doing the work themselves. For example, if you are delegating the task of buying a plane ticket. The employer may find themselves describing exactly how to do it, and then realize that they would save time just buying it themselves.
This is where trusting your employee comes in to play. This level of delegation has its place but is often found frustrating by employers. It is when you have total control and seek no feedback or input from the employee.
Level 2: Look Into This For Me
This type of delegation is when it is you that makes a decision and can explain your reasoning to your workers, but are not looking for a discussion.
A good example is when you are looking at buying something for your company but need more information first. You then delegate the job of researching that product and other potential options to a worker and allowing them to fully research it before coming back to you. With all the information they have collected, you can then make an informed decision.
Level 3: Give Me Your Advice. Then I’ll Decide
This kind of delegation is when you ask your employees for their advice and input, before making a decision.
This could be similar to the last level, where you ask your employees to research potential options. However, when they return with their research, you all have a discussion, and everyone offers their advice and opinion before you make your decision.
Delegates are expected to conduct thorough research, as well as form their own opinion in order to advise their employer.
Level 4: Explore, Decide, and Check Back With Me
This kind of delegation can be characterized as deciding alone on a strategy, informing the team of what it is, and allowing them to take action unless hearing otherwise.
This gives the team members more authority, as well as more responsibility. You will provide a final hurdle for them to navigate once they have a plan in mind. They must convince you of the wisdom behind their decision, after which they can carry it out.
This saves a good amount of time for the one delegating tasks, as they only need to give the brief, and then approve any final action.
Level 5: Explore and Decide, Within These Limits
This type of delegation is when the team member begins to take total control over a task, including in carrying out the final decision.
This type of delegation can help to liberate workplaces that are otherwise hindered by indecision from leadership and management. Delegating tasks down the line to team members can keep workflows moving.
This requires a high degree of trust in the teams from the delegator. The workers will appreciate this amount of trust being shown in them. This may well pay off in that sense.
This kind of delegation requires a minimal amount of time spent on the task by you as the delegator.
Level 6: Just Get It Done
This is the final level of delegation. It is also the most extreme form. This is when you delegate a task to a team or team member completely and don’t want to know any details of the job or how they complete it.
This is the level that shows the most trust in the employees to get the job done right. It provides complete autonomy to the team and shows that you have faith in their competency. The extent of your involvement may be as little as saying “take care of it however you feel is right, I don’t need to know what you did.”
This is the highest level of delegation. It provides the delegatee with the most amount of control, but also the most amount of accountability. They ended to be fully aware that they are responsible for the success of the task.
This kind of delegation requires the absolute minimum time on the part of the delegator.
Use These Six Steps Wisely
Remember: each project requires a different amount of delegation. It is beneficial to everyone involved for you to delegate at the highest level possible when organizing tasks. This means taking into account both the needs of the project and the abilities of the person.
Taking the approach of gradually increasing the delegation-level as time goes by can greatly benefit your employees. Not only will they become more confident in taking the initiative in tasks, but it will make them more useful to you later on down the line.
It is good always to have at least a couple of team members to which you can delegate to a higher level. This relieves the workload on you and means you are not stuck in the cycle of delegate, answer questions, delegate. If no one is available that can handle this higher level of delegation, consider hiring someone new or “leveling-up” a current employee.
How to Make Best Use of Delegation
As well as these 6 levels of delegation, there are another ten points that you should use as a rule of thumb.
Make sure to prepare the task before delegating it to someone. An employee will never achieve great results unless the correct preparations have been made beforehand. Take enough time and care to lay the groundwork.
2) Choose The Right Person For The Job
Keep in mind your employees’ KSA (knowledge, skills, and attitude). Make sure that the person you are delegating a job to is capable and competent enough for the task.
3) Provide A Clear Goal
It is up to you to provide your team with all the relevant information necessary to complete the task and a clear end-goal for them to aim towards. Include this in the brief.
4) Delegate The Entire Job To A Single Person
A big mistake that inexperienced leaders make is to split a job between multiple team members. This does nothing but add confusion and complication where it is unnecessary. Even if a team will work on the task, make sure to delegate the job to one team member.
5) Confirm That They Understand
Never assume that the team member completely understands what you are asking of them. While you think you may be being clear, you never know what gets lost in communication. Confirm that they understand everything before leaving them to get on with the task. It takes only a few seconds but can save huge amounts of time in the long run.
6) Confirm Their Commitment
This is another part of the delegation process that is easily skipped over. Make sure that the team member has accepted the task before leaving them to it. Many times a manager has assumed the team member has taken the task, only to find that it is not complete later on because they could not accept it.
Think of it as a relay race – make sure you’ve handed the baton to the next runner before letting go.
7) Avoid “Reverse Delegating”
Sometimes, employees are better at delegating than their employers. This can leave managers feeling overworked and stressed.
This reverse delegating can happen for any number of reasons. For example, an employee cannot complete a task, or it was not completed to a good enough standard. Either way, the task ends up back with the manager.
Use the past tips to make sure at the beginning that the employee will be able to finish the task.
8) Ensure Accountability
Make sure that you receive regular progress reports. It’s OK to intervene if a task is overdue, or if you hear that work is not progressing as it should. The key to effective delegation is knowing when to be involved and when not to be.
9) Give Feedback
Make sure that you are giving feedback on a team member’s work. This is vital for any manager to do. Employees must know that they are on the right track. Don’t forget to offer advice and encouragement if they need it.
10) Give Proper Recognition
Everyone needs praise. Don’t forget to congratulate or thank the employee when they complete a task well. It can go a long way.
The 6 Levels Of Delegation – Keys to Management Success
Delegation is a crucial tool in the belt of every manager, no matter the organization. It not only frees up time but can also improve work quality and productivity. By defining the type of delegation you are using, and stick to a delegation ladder, then success is more likely to be guaranteed.
This delegation ladder is a good way of conceptualizing delegation in your mind. New team members start on the basic level of delegation – the first rung. Later on, when they gain experience and earn your trust, you can advance them on to higher rungs and more responsibility.
This kind of delegation framework is incredibly useful for many reasons. Primarily, it gives you, as the manager, a flexible and adjustable method of delegating tasks to team members of varying degrees of experience. Is an employee struggling with an assignment? Then they can be moved to a lower rung of the ladder. Is someone consistently exceeding expectations and completing tasks? Perhaps they can be moved to a higher rung and given more responsibility.
No matter what kind of team you manage, if you follow the 6 levels of delegation, you are guaranteed to make the most of your time, increase productivity, and have a team made up of satisfied, competent employees.
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