What is delegation in the administration?

In the corporate world,  delegation is the assignment to a subordinate of the responsibility for planning, deciding, or executing a task  . The act of delegating is always exercised by an authority, that is, a superior of the employee chosen to receive the mission.

A good delegation requires the selection of a qualified person to assume the new functions, which must be fully in line with the increase in their responsibilities. Also, there must be perfect communication between the leader and the employee. The leader must ensure that the assigned task is capable of being carried out and must monitor its progress closely, especially in the initial phase of the transfer of power.

It is important to underline that an authority delegates only tasks, not responsibilities. When transferring power to a subordinate, the leader will remain accountable for the task to his superiors  , and must be accountable to them. The delegation process, therefore, requires awareness of the possibility of having to answer for mistakes made by subordinates.

Why is it important to delegate?

Delegating tasks is essential for companies seeking growth. It allows leaders to assume greater responsibilities, preventing them from becoming overwhelmed with activities that others can perform.

Delegation also helps increase the  decentralization of management  . This is because it increases the importance of the subordinate and avoids the concentration of authority in the highest positions of the organization, distributing at least part of the decision-making power.

Delegation steps

In the administrative delegation process, we can identify four steps.

The first corresponds to the  definition of objectives  , that is, the authority clearly determines and communicates what it expects from those who received the delegation.

The second step is the  delegation of permission to act  , which is the time when the leader gives his subordinate the authority to perform the actions necessary to achieve the objectives, including commitment and use of resources.

Subsequently, there is an  obligation to execute  . It corresponds to the action of the subordinate, who must assume responsibility for fulfilling the tasks delegated to him in the best possible way. It is also up to him to account for the results.

Finally, the delegation creates the  obligation to evaluate the execution of the task  , whose responsibility is the authority that delegated it. The authority should monitor the progress of the task, collect accountability and evaluate the results.

Monitoring delegation

It is important that the leader systematically monitor the assignment transfer process during its execution. This monitoring is essential not only to ensure that the task goes according to plan, but also to make subordinates feel supported and gain confidence to assume greater autonomy.

Monitoring can be daily, weekly, or at intervals that are most appropriate to the task at hand and the experience of the subordinate who has assumed responsibility. At each meeting, the leader should listen to the progress of the process and the difficulties encountered and, in return, provide guidance.

As the superior and subordinate gain confidence, the monitoring interval should increase until the complete transfer of power.

How to delegate effectively?

  • Verify that the subordinate is no longer overloaded and can receive new assignments
  • Do not delegate the same task to two subordinates or someone else’s subordinate
  • Give clear and precise instructions on what to expect from homework.
  • Make sure the employee understands why the task needs to be done in a certain way
  • When delegating the task, also delegate authority, that is, give the subordinate the power to make decisions.
  • If you find that a problem recurs during the execution, discuss it with the subordinate
  • Listen to the ideas and suggestions brought
  • Give confidence to the subordinate
  • Be sure to criticize when you think it is necessary, but always try to highlight the positive points.
  • If you need to criticize the employee’s performance, don’t do it in front of other employees and don’t threaten him.
  • Know how to reward good performances.