July 13, 2023

8 Principles of Delegation You Should Know

Learn how to wisely assign tasks, empower your team, and foster an environment of mutual growth. This comprehensive guide provides strategies and tips to help you not only boost productivity but also enhance team collaboration and drive towards common goals. Ideal for leaders and managers at all levels seeking to maximize their team's potential.

All successful leaders know the importance of delegation. Using the principles of delegation, managers can assign tasks and responsibilities and inspire team members to work toward a goal. 
Managing delegation will help you improve efficiency, productivity, team morale, and collaboration. Moreover, it makes organizations more cohesive and synergetic. 
Without the right principles of delegation, it can be a challenging task. In this guide to delegation at a workplace, we discuss its benefits, share the fundamental principles behind it, and give a step-by-step guide for managing delegation.

Benefits of Delegation in the Workplace

By learning how to delegate tasks to employees, you will improve the collective output of your organization. These are some of the benefits of using the principles of delegation at a workplace. 
  • Fostering Trust: When you get good at managing delegation, you will create a culture of trust and openness in your teams. Team members would know that their talents are being utilized well by a system that believes in them. 
  • Learning New Skills: Using principles of delegation, you can empower employees to learn new skills. This encourages them to be creative, which will help the organization achieve innovative breakthroughs.  
  • Team Development: Delegation in a workplace enables you to optimally allocate tasks. This helps teams handle larger projects under shorter timelines. For organizations, it means improved revenue and profit.
  • Improved Morale: With principles of delegation, you can make sure that no one is overburdened and that work gets equitably distributed. This improves team morale, which in turn improves efficiency and productivity. 
  • Increases Accountability: When individuals are empowered to work on specific tasks, they will be far more accountable for their actions. It also helps you make the necessary changes on time since there’s clarity on job roles. 
  • Reduces Stress: When you understand how to delegate tasks to employees, you will be making sure that there is parity in work allocation. This helps reduce stress at the workplace and creates a more positive culture. 
  • Greater Work-Life Balance: By reducing work overload and exhaustion, principles of delegation can help team members achieve a greater work-life balance. This will do wonders for their mental health. 
  • Focus on the Big Picture: One of the biggest benefits of managing delegation is that managers can focus on important tasks. Instead of having to micromanage, they can concentrate on priority areas for the organization. 

8 Principles of Delegation

Why should you be interested in the principles of delegation? Because they help you understand the kind of delegation you will have to choose. These are the most common principles of delegation that managers can use to empower their teams and improve productivity. 
1. Define Tasks Clearly
Also called the principle of precise definition, it explains the tasks and responsibilities that are being delegated. It clearly explains the deadlines, outcomes, and resources the individual would need. 
Using this principle of delegation, a manager can help their team members understand their specific roles. This avoids ambiguity and confusion, which will improve efficiency. 
2. Establish a Clear Reporting Line
Without effective workplace delegation, employees wouldn’t know who to report to. With the principle of unity of command, leaders can give clear directions to their team members. 
This principle of delegation is rooted in the idea that when individuals have only one authority to report to, there won’t be any need for confusing instructions. It also makes communication more coherent between team members. 
3. Balance Authority and Responsibility
Responsibility without authority is a recipe for subpar outcomes and employee disengagement. With this principle of delegation, you can not only assign specific responsibilities to a team member but also empower them with the authority to complete their tasks. 
With greater autonomy, employees will have more stake in the process. If they can access resources and support without getting managerial approval, they will be more invested in their tasks. With parity of authority and responsibility, you will also encourage employees to finish their tasks faster. 
4. Total Responsibility
At times, giving only partial authority will be ineffective for an employee. With this principle of delegation, you’re giving them absolute responsibility and control for a project or a task. By giving them the necessary decision-making power, you’re also making them completely accountable for their task. 
Using the principle of total responsibility, you’re allowing employees to take ownership of their tasks. This leads to greater motivation and job satisfaction. It also instills a sense of entrepreneurship in the system. 
5. Delegate Based on Expected Results
This principle of delegation mandates that responsibilities and tasks be assigned based on the expected results. Managers can be more effective if they concentrate on the results instead of the processes they use to achieve those outcomes. 
This allows team members to take on greater responsibilities tied to their skill sets. They will also improve their decision-making skills in the process. Altogether, it increases creativity and innovation within the organization. 
6. Set Authority Boundaries
Greater authority can at times lead to undesirable outcomes. The principle of limitations on authority empowers managers to limit the powers of an employee to prevent them from misusing their power. 
This principle of delegation will be more effective if it’s codified and shared as a guideline. With clear instructions, employees would know what they can and cannot do. 
7. Engage and Motivate
Autonomy may not lead to an improvement in performance because individuals may not be used to their new roles. They also may not see any tangible difference from accomplishing the tasks. With the principle of motivation, a manager can introduce incentives for employees to excel in their new responsibilities. 
The idea behind this principle of delegation is to find ways to motivate employees, especially when they’re in an unfamiliar situation.
8. Efficient Oversight
While managing delegation, it’s important to remember that the manager is only delegating their authority and not the responsibility. That’s why supervisors should be interested in how to keep track of delegated tasks.
The principle of efficient oversight states that the manager should have a system of control for measuring the performance of their employees. This is how managers can analyze how an employee is implementing their authority. 

How to Successfully Delegate Tasks: Step-by-Step

Once you’ve understood the principles of delegation and chosen your preferred method, you can use these steps for successful delegation.
  • Time management: To effectively use the principles of delegation, you should prioritize tasks and make sure that individuals have the right amount of time. Managers should also ensure that their team members stay productive and efficient during those periods. 
  • Assign tasks: Managing delegation begins with understanding the skillsets of employees. Once you know who’s more proficient at a task, you can assign them responsibilities that match their skills. You should also keep in mind their availability and interest when delegating. 
  • Implement SMART goals: Delegation will be more effective if managers use the SMART framework while setting goals. Each goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will also reveal the resources employees need and the constraints they face. 
  • Provide feedback: The best way to use the principles of delegation is by giving timely feedback to the employees. This helps the employee identify their strengths and weaknesses. They can make the necessary changes on time, without having to wait for the project to end. 
  • Ensure accountability: How do you ensure accountability while delegating? Give them a viable timeline and the necessary resources and support. Encourage them to communicate regularly and ask questions. Set benchmarks for subtasks and discuss their progress with the team members. 
  • Problem-solving: When challenges arise, the first step is to specifically identify the problem. After that, come up with multiple solutions, analyze their viability, and select the right solution. While implementing, monitor your progress, and learn from the whole experience. 

Mastering the Art of Delegation

Managing delegation creates win-win scenarios for the manager, employee, and organization. With greater freedom and empowerment, team members will be more motivated to accomplish their goals. That’s why it’s important to master the principles of delegation.
Maven has several Management and Leadership courses from domain experts that teach you how to use the principles of delegation in your workplace. Some of the most popular courses are:
Choose the course that’s right for you and get ready to apply the principles of delegation at your workplace.

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