Successful Delegation Checklist

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This Successful Delegation checklist outlines the correct process you should follow when delegating a task and reminds you of the three key principles of effective delegation.

One of the most important management skills you can master is learning how to delegate. As a specific skill, delegation is one that becomes increasingly more important as you progress through levels of management and will greatly increase your own productivity. There is no other skill that will increase your productivity to the same degree as being able to delegate successfully.

As a manager, you need to allocate as much time as possible to aiding the development of your business or service. This requires focusing a significant amount of your time on planning for the short-term and long-term needs of your organization; a strategy that in theory sounds good, but will undoubtedly in practice be replaced by any free time being overtaken with everyday operational tasks and problems.

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Thus, if you can successfully reduce the amount of time you spend performing the latter, the more time you will have to dedicate to the growth and planning of your organization. Hence the importance of learning how to delegate.

One of the most effective and efficient ways you can achieve this is by delegating the disruptive operational tasks to someone else who is equally capable of performing this role. Indeed, a key aspect of delegating efficiently is to ensure that whilst your time is organized more effectively, tasks must be allocated to suitable people to minimize risks, and to ensure the optimum outcome. It also provides you with the opportunity to develop your team members by increasing their morale and motivation.

Principle of delegation by results expected
The degree of authority delegated to an individual manager should be adequate to assure their ability to accomplish the results expected of them. Without this level of authority, they will be unable to complete the task, as others they need to interact with will hinder their progress due to lack of 'real' authority. It is essential that as part of the delegation process, you communicate this devolved authority to all necessary parties.

Principle of absoluteness of responsibility
It is vital that delegation is not used as way of avoiding or abdicating ultimate responsibility and ownership of tasks. Responsibility for the activities of subordinates, who have been assigned duties, remains at all times with whoever originally delegated the task.

Principle of parity of authority and responsibility
The degree of authority that is delegated in conjunction with the task has to be consistent with the level of responsibility and role of the subordinate.

As an initial step it is best to delegate:
1) Routine tasks.
2) Planned tasks.
3) Tasks that a team member has expressed an interest in performing.

For all of these, you should ensure that you have sufficient time within your workload to brief and explain exactly what is required. You must be mindful not to always delegate unpleasant tasks as this will not develop or motivate your staff.

It is also important to understand when you should not delegate. You should resist temptation to pass on tasks that have been delegated to you, as it is crucial to be able to control issues that arise and ensure they are resolved between you and the task owner. Delegation should also not be used as a strategy to handle last-minute tasks. The nature of such a task does not provide sufficient time for you to control the risks involved or to provide a sound brief.

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