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Chapter 9: Delegation

Delegation is a way to appropriately and consistently provide direction to the staff. By delegating properly, you can teach employees new skills and expertise to help them be more productive and instill a sense of self-reliance, improving morale and motivation. As a supervisor, you must assess your staff's current abilities and their potential to accept and complete assignments through established guidelines. You must know how to plan and coordinate a variety of activities and how to monitor progress. Delegation brings into play many management functions planning, organizing, coordinating, motivating, communicating, and leading.
Make sure that you delegate the appropriate level of authority to the task.


Guiding Principles

Your goals in delegating are to:

Choosing Projects or Tasks to Delegate

Choose the projects and tasks you delegate carefully to make sure you are balancing the risk with the potential rewards. You may want to delegate tasks that meet the following criteria:

Making Delegation Effective

You can do several things to increase your effectiveness in delegation. For delegation to work, your staff must have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, the extent of their authority, and the results that they are expected to produce.

Preparing Employees for Delegation

  • Find out what employees already know about the task. With this knowledge, you can communicate more efficiently, without losing employees' attention or insulting their intelligence.
  • Give a reason why explanation. Employees who understand the purpose of projects tend to commit themselves more fully to completing those projects.
  • Provide an example or illustration of the task.
  • Make it clear that you welcome questions. Employees may feel embarrassed or afraid to reveal their lack of knowledge about a subject or task. Reassure them that you are happy to answer any questions they might have.
  • Work with employees at the beginning of new projects to provide the encouragement and instruction they need.
  • Resistance to Delegation

    Understanding why you may be reluctant to delegate tasks and why staff members may be reluctant to accept them will help you be a more effective delegator. The reluctance to delegate tasks is understandable because you still retain accountability. Sometimes you may feel the transfer of a task involves a certain degree of risk. Your staff may also be thinking about the risk; they are afraid that they may be criticized if they fail. Some common reasons why managers and supervisors avoid delegation are:

    Other Resources

  • Your Employee Relations Specialist in Human Resources
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    Training Resources

    Attend the Supervisory Certificate Program course, "Delegating for Success and Accountability" to learn more about this important function.  Enroll at:  http://training.ucsf.edu/.