Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Milton Campbell
Have you ever told somebody to do something, fully expecting them to get it done? You go about your business, taking care of other things, believing they are working on the task you assigned them. Only to return later to find out the person you assigned the task to has made little progress on the task. This can be very frustrating but this is where the 5 rights of delegation are extremely important.
Many people think they know what delegating is and think they know how to delegate effectively but it can be trickier than most people realize. It’s not just giving your work to somebody else so you can lounge around. That’s not effective delegation. So what is effective delegation?
In this article, we will discuss exactly what delegation is, the 5 rights of delegation, and how to use them to delegate effectively. Also included are 10 additional delegation tips to make you more successful in delegating leadership to others. Continue reading to boost your delegation skills and watch your team’s productivity soar.
What Does it Mean to Delegate a Task?
Delegating is the act of authorizing or entrusting another person with tasks or responsibilities. Normally delegation happens between a person in a position of power and someone less senior to them. For instance, a supervisor may delegate tasks to an employee of theirs.
Leaders can delegate authority and power or they can delegate tasks. Delegating authority and power means giving a subordinate the ability to make certain decisions and allowing them to do certain jobs. For example, a manager may select someone to fill their role while the manager is on vacation. Task delegation is limited to specific tasks. The leader entrusts subordinates with certain tasks. For example, a leader may delegate the task of making the next week’s schedule to a subordinate.
Why is Delegation Important for Managers?
At this point you may be thinking doesn’t delegating make me a lazy person? Absolutely not! Delegating is a very important tool for supervisors and managers. Delegation is vital for good time management. Allowing another person to complete one of your tasks gives you more time to focus on additional projects or duties.
Not only does it give you time for other duties but it also builds the skills of your subordinates. You are setting the groundwork for effective management skills in your employees depending on the level of delegation you have with the employee. Building these skills with the members of your team is crucial for making your team as strong as it can be.
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What Are the 5 Rights of Delegation?
- Right Tasks – Are these tasks that can be legally and ethically delegated? Not all tasks can be delegated. Also, tasks critical to the success of your work center or organization should typically not be delegated to others. Since they require your full attention.
- Right Circumstances – Are the circumstances right to delegate the task? It may be perfectly acceptable to delegate a task in one situation but that same task should not be delegated in another situation. Different policies and procedures could come into play.
- Right Person – Is this the right person to delegate the task or authority to? You want to ensure the person you are delegating to is ready and competent to handle the task. Especially in do-or-die situations. Has this person done similar tasks in the past? If so then they are probably the right person to delegate to.
- Right Direction – Does the delegatee have a proper direction? To have the highest chances of success, you must give the person good directions. This means being specific in what your expectations and goals are for them on the task.
- Right Supervision – You must provide appropriate supervision both during the task and after. After the task is complete you and the delegatee should have a feedback session on how it went and what could be improved. This both helps for the next time and further builds the employee’s skills because you provide them with your wisdom and experience.
For more information on the Five Rights of Delegation click here.
Tips on How to Delegate Leadership
Delegation Tip #1: Trust the Delegatee
Trusting your employees can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to delegating responsibilities. However, it is crucial to understand that without trust, effective delegation cannot take place. When you delegate a task to an employee, you are essentially entrusting them with a certain level of responsibility and accountability. Doubting their ability to perform the task can negatively impact their confidence and motivation, which could ultimately result in poor performance.
That is why it is important to remember the 5 Rights of Delegation: the right person, the right task, the right time, the right instructions, and the right feedback. If you have identified the right person for the task, provided clear instructions and expectations, ensured that they have the necessary resources and support, and given them constructive feedback, then there is no reason to doubt their ability to perform the task successfully.
By trusting your employees and following the 5 Rights of Delegation, you can create a culture of accountability and ownership
Delegation Tip #2: Communication is Key
As a leader, effective communication is essential for success in delegation. Clear communication of expectations, responsibilities, and authority is necessary for your subordinate to understand their role and perform their tasks effectively. Without clear communication, misunderstandings and miscommunications can occur, leading to confusion, frustration, and ultimately, poor performance.
When delegating responsibilities, it is important to communicate the specific task or project, the timelines, and the expected outcomes. This ensures that the subordinate understands what is expected of them and can prioritize their work accordingly. Additionally, it is important to communicate any authority that the subordinate will have, including decision-making power and access to resources. This will ensure that the subordinate is not left feeling unsupported, confused, or uncertain about their role or responsibilities.
Effective communication also involves active listening and feedback. As a leader, it is important to listen to your subordinate’s questions, concerns, and feedback to ensure that they have all the support and resources they need to perform their tasks effectively. Providing constructive feedback, both positive and negative, will also help your subordinate to understand their strengths and areas for improvement, and ultimately, help them to grow and develop in their role.
In summary, clear and effective communication is a fundamental aspect of successful delegation. By communicating your expectations and providing clear direction, you can set your subordinate up for success and create a culture of accountability and ownership.
Delegation Tip #3: Provide Support
Delegation is not a one-and-done task. It requires ongoing support and guidance to ensure that the delegated task is completed successfully. As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employee has all the necessary resources and support to perform their delegated task.
One way to provide support is by being available to answer any questions or concerns your employee may have. If they come across a roadblock or something they haven’t done before, it’s important to be there to offer guidance and advice. This will not only help them overcome the challenge but also build their confidence and trust in you as a leader.
Additionally, providing your employees with the necessary tools and resources is crucial. This may include access to information, technology, or even additional training. By providing your employee with what they need, you are setting them up for success and ensuring that they can perform their tasks to the best of their abilities.
Regular check-ins and feedback are also important aspects of ongoing support. This allows you to monitor progress, provide constructive feedback, and make adjustments if necessary. It also reinforces the importance of the delegated task and shows your employee that you value their contribution.
In summary, successful delegation requires ongoing support from a leader. Being available, providing necessary tools and resources, and offering regular feedback and check-ins will help ensure that the delegated task is completed successfully and to the best of your employee’s abilities.
The earlier you delegate a task to someone, the higher the chances of success. If you wait until the task is almost due before you delegate it, you will put added stress on the delegatee to get it done. The best time to delegate tasks is as soon as they come up. Even if it doesn’t need to be started for a little while, let the delegatee know that he or she will be leading this task.
Delegation Tip #5: Delegate to One Person
Delegating tasks or authority to multiple individuals can be beneficial in terms of increasing productivity and efficiency, but it can also lead to confusion and friction between team members. To prevent this, it is important to clearly define roles and responsibilities, especially when delegating tasks to teams.
When delegating tasks to a team, it is essential to clearly state who is leading the team on the task. This person should be responsible for coordinating efforts, ensuring communication between team members, and ultimately making final decisions. This will help to prevent confusion and ensure that the team is working together effectively towards a common goal.
When delegating authority, it is ideal to delegate to one person unless the task requires multiple individuals to have authority. This will help to prevent power struggles and ensure that decisions are made efficiently and effectively. If multiple individuals need to have authority, it is important to clearly define their roles and responsibilities and ensure that they can work together without stepping on each other’s toes.
In addition to clearly defining roles and responsibilities, it is also important to communicate with the team throughout the delegation process. This includes providing regular feedback, monitoring progress, and being available to answer any questions or concerns. This will help to ensure that the team is working together effectively and that everyone is on the same page.
In summary, when delegating tasks or authority to teams, it is important to clearly define roles and responsibilities and communicate effectively throughout the process. Delegating to one person is ideal for authority unless the task requires multiple individuals to have authority. By doing so, you can prevent confusion and friction between team members and ensure that the team is working together effectively towards a common goal.
Delegation Tip #6: Practice Patience
When delegating tasks to your employees, it is important to exhibit patience and understand that they may not complete the tasks in the same way or at the same speed as you would. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are doing something wrong. In fact, they may surprise you and come up with innovative or more efficient ways of completing the task that you had not even considered.
Exhibiting patience with your employees during the delegation process is key to building trust and fostering a positive work environment. When you show patience, you are showing that you trust your employees and believe in their abilities. This can help to boost their confidence and motivation, ultimately leading to better performance and productivity.
It is important to keep in mind that everyone has their unique strengths and weaknesses. By delegating tasks to your employees, you are allowing them to develop their skills and grow as professionals. By being patient and supportive, you can help foster a sense of ownership and accountability in your employees, which can lead to better performance and job satisfaction.
In addition to being patient, it is also important to provide your employees with the necessary resources and support to complete the delegated tasks. This includes providing clear instructions, training, and access to tools and resources. By doing so, you can help to set your employees up for success and ensure that they can complete the tasks to the best of their abilities.
In summary, exhibiting patience with your employees during the delegation process can help to build trust, foster a positive work environment, and ultimately lead to better performance and productivity. By providing the necessary resources and support, you can help set your employees up for success and ensure that they can complete the delegated tasks to the best of their abilities.
Delegation Tip #7: Grant the Authority Needed
Delegating tasks to employees can be an effective way to increase productivity and efficiency. However, it is important to give employees the necessary authority to complete the task. If employees have to constantly ask for permission or approval at every step of the way, it can be frustrating and inhibit their progress on the task.
When delegating a task to an employee, it is important to clearly communicate the scope of the task and the level of authority they have to make decisions and take action. This may include providing guidelines or boundaries, but it is important to trust the employee to make decisions within these parameters. If you do not trust the employee to make decisions, then delegating the task may not be the best option.
Providing employees with the necessary authority to complete the task will help to empower them and give them a sense of ownership and accountability. This can lead to increased motivation and better performance. It is also important to provide support and resources to help employees complete the task successfully.
If you are micromanaging the employee or not giving them the necessary authority, it may be time to re-evaluate the delegation process. This could include providing additional training or support, or it could mean reassigning the task to someone else if the employee is not the right fit for the task.
In summary, giving employees the necessary authority to complete a delegated task is important for their success and job satisfaction. It is important to communicate the scope of the task and provide support and resources to help employees complete it successfully. If you find yourself micromanaging or not giving employees the necessary authority, it may be time to re-evaluate the delegation process.
Delegation Tip #8: Don’t Step in Too Early
Problems will happen. It doesn’t matter if you are running it or somebody else is running it, problems are inevitable. When they do arise, give your subordinates time to solve them on their own. Don’t step in as soon as some difficulties arise. Don’t let your delegatee fail but allow them the opportunity to solve it. At times, you may even have to politely tell your subordinates to figure it out on their own.
If you do need to step in to help them, do it in a way where you are guiding them and not giving them the solution. Anyone can lead when things are going right but difficulties are what build us and it will build your subordinates as well. These difficulties will build some of the most memorable effective management skills in your employees.
Delegation Tip #9: Give Credit and Reward
When your team performs well and accomplishes tasks successfully, it is important to give credit where credit is due. Acknowledging your team’s accomplishments not only boosts their morale and motivation but also strengthens your relationship with them.
One of the most effective ways to acknowledge your team’s accomplishments is by giving them credit for their work. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as publicly acknowledging their contributions during team meetings or in front of senior management. Additionally, you can give them a shoutout in an email or social media post, or even simply thanking them personally for their hard work.
By giving your subordinates credit for their work, you are demonstrating your appreciation for their efforts and your confidence in their abilities. This can help to build a positive work environment and foster a sense of camaraderie among team members. It also helps to create a culture of recognition and appreciation, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and loyalty among team members.
Furthermore, acknowledging your team’s accomplishments does not make you look bad to those above you. In fact, it demonstrates your leadership skills and your ability to assemble and manage a high-performing team. It also highlights your commitment to your team’s success and your willingness to give credit where credit is due.
In summary, acknowledging your team’s accomplishments is an important part of being a successful leader. By giving credit where credit is due, you can boost morale, foster teamwork, and create a culture of appreciation within your team. This ultimately leads to better performance, job satisfaction, and loyalty among team members.
Delegation Tip #10: Provide Feedback
Delegating tasks to employees can be an effective way to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace. However, it is important to provide feedback to employees after the task is completed. This feedback should include both positive and constructive feedback, highlighting what the employee did well and what they could improve upon.
Providing feedback to employees after a delegated task is completed not only helps them understand how they performed but also helps them develop their skills and knowledge for future tasks. Positive feedback can help boost morale and reinforce good performance, while constructive feedback can help employees identify areas for improvement and grow professionally.
When giving feedback, it is important to make it a two-way conversation. Ask the employee for their take on what went well and what they could have done differently. This not only helps the employee reflect on their performance but also allows them to share their thoughts and ideas with you.
Furthermore, providing feedback to employees after a delegated task shows that you are invested in their professional development and success. It also demonstrates that you are approachable and open to communication, which can help build trust and strengthen your relationship with your team.
In summary, providing feedback to employees after a delegated task is an important part of the delegation process. It helps employees understand their performance, develop their skills, and grow professionally. By making it a two-way conversation, you can also get valuable insights from your employees and strengthen your relationship with them.
Final Thoughts on How to Use the Five Rights to Delegate
As leaders, it can sometimes be hard to let go of control but delegating effectively is important for supervisors. Not only will it build your time management skills but it will also help your employees grow, giving them new skills and competencies. There’s a saying in the Air Force “You’re always training your replacement”. This doesn’t mean the people you’re training are going to push you out of a job. It means the people underneath you should always be ready to take over when needed.
You never know what could happen. Maybe you get promoted. You could take another job. There could be a family emergency that pulls you away from work. In all those situations you want the next in line to be ready if the time comes. Having team members that are ready to take over in your absence because you built effective leadership skills in them, is a huge asset to any supervisor.
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