When managers delegate they provide a framework and structure for employees. Employees know what is expected and what has to be done. It remains the manager’s responsibility to ensure each employee plays their part. Managers must select the right people for the right jobs, and assign them tasks that suit their skills and abilities. When managers delegate they must retain control and authority as they are still responsible and accountable.
Delegation is not empowerment
“I try hard not to use the word empowerment anymore, because of the variety of definitions given to it. Empowerment after all is only a means of “effective delegation.”
There are three elements the manager must consider and integrate when deciding to delegate. These are, authority, responsibility and accountability.
Authority concerns “the parameters within which a manager will allow an individual or team to make decisions and take action”. Once defined and delegated the manager must at all times remain in control. While a certain amount of authority may have been delegated the manager retains overall responsibility and accountability.
Responsibility relates to the scope and impact of a person’s job. Effective managers delegate tasks to individuals that are directly related to that persons experience and ability.
Accountability refers to consequences. The manager in a company, the political leader, the father of a family and every individual must accept the consequences of decisions and actions. Without consequences, accountability does not exist.
Know your business
In order to put a winning formula together the manager must understand and know his business. The manager must understand what skills and abilities are required and at the same time understand who the best people for the job are.
Many managers are failing today because this very basic principle is not adhered to. One government minister recently stated on National Television he had delegated or outsourced a task to a consultant and the problem that now existed was the consultants fault.
This is a very good example of abdication and not delegation. The minister in this example, had given up his authority, had failed in his responsibility and had resigned his authority to another person – the consultant.
There are four steps that can be applied in the task of delegation – the BALM principle.
• Break the goal down to specific tasks. Make a list, in order of importance, of all the tasks to be performed.
• Analyse and make a list of the various competencies required to complete the tasks you have listed
• List the members of the team, and identify each individuals capabilities and specific individual skills
• Match the individuals to the tasks that need to be performed. Make sure the person with the right skills is allocated to the right task.
You need to consider if you have the right people with the correct competencies in the right positions? If you do not then you need to ask why? What have you done wrong in appointing these people?
If you do not have the right people for the job, you have to make some decisions and take responsibility for the situation you find yourself in. Outsourcing or bringing in a consultant may not be the solution.
You may need to train existing staff or recruit more qualified people. Training is usually the best option - it is cheaper and you know more about the individual you want to train – abilities, talents, work ethic and so on.
Each individual role should be clearly defined and every employee should be aware of their responsibility, authority and accountability.
Delegation requires you to accept responsibility. Accept the fact, when you delegate you cannot blame others for your actions and for the choices you made. You cannot abdicate from the responsibilities you have been given. You accepted them - so take control and take responsibility.
© Des Squire (Managing Member)
AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc