Delegation is an ethical responsibility you owe to yourself, to those with whom you work, and to your organization. A leader cannot do everything for an organization. There are only so many hours in a day, so many tasks one person can do. Besides, an uninvolved member soon becomes an apathetic, unmotivated member who most likely drops out of the group.
A good leader learns to use the skill of delegation to help the organization to its fullest potential. These are the benefits of delegation:
OBSTACLES TO DELEGATIONLeaders will not delegate because…
- They believe the “I can do it better and faster myself” fallacy
- They do not know which tasks to delegate
- They are afraid people won’t like them if they ask for help
- They lack confidence in the member’s ability
- They fear a loss of control
- They are unwilling to let members make decisions and be held accountable
for those decisions
- They get personal satisfaction from doing the task themselves
- They find it easier to ask the leader than to make a decision by themselves
- They do not understand their own level of authority
WHY DELEGATION FAILS
- The process is incomplete. Responsibility for the results have been distributed without granting sufficient authority or creating a relationship of accountability.
- The leader refuses, consciously or unconsciously, to delegate. The obstacles to delegation are never overcome by the leader or the member.
- Delegation is blocked by incomplete or ineffective communication. The leader thinks that he/she has delegated a task, but the member is unaware that delegation has occurred.
FOUR LEADERSHIP ATTRIBUTES NEEDED FOR DELEGATION
- A leader must be receptive to other people’s ideas.
- A leader must be prepared for and willing to accept mistakes.
- A leader must forego the luxury of blowing his/her top.
- A leader must exercise great powers of self restraint.
FIVE STEPS IN THE PROCESS OF SUCCESSFUL DELEGATION
- Policy guidelines must be clearly stated.
- Jobs must be defined.
- Goals must be set and agreed upon by members. People support what they
help to create.
- Two-way communication must be established between the leader and the member.
- Feedback systems must be established through effective meetings during the in-between meeting times.
FIVE WAYS TO DELEGATE
- Appoint someone.
- Assign it to a committee.
- Ask for volunteers in a meeting.
- Break up the job into logical parts and spread the work to a few people.
- Find out your members’ interests, skills and time commitments — then find a task to suit them.
- Don’t overload any one person. Spread the responsibilities and get everyone involved.
- Don’t delegate only those tasks you dislike or that are very simple.
- Don’t overlook the need to constantly train your members.
- Don’t look upon delegation as a sign of weakness.