First and foremost, effective delegation is an essential component of a manager’s job. In addition, effective delegation is a critical leadership skill aimed at improving the efficiency and motivation of supervisors and employees. Furthermore, the success of an organisation is determined by the way in which tasks are executed and how responsibilities and tasks are delegated. Therefore, delegation is a necessity ingredient that enables organisation to execute tasks in synergy from all three levels of management to subordinates at an operational level. The essay will critically discuss the significance of delegation, and how human resource managers can delegate certain duties and responsibilities to their subordinates. That will be done through discussion, factors such as: firstly, development of subordinates through delegation, how delegation enable public managers to achieve more, how delegation promotes satisfaction among subordinates. Secondly, building mutual trust and confidence through delegation. Thirdly, how delegation maximises output and also reasons on why public managers sometimes fail to delegate. The factors mentioned above will be discussed in-depth through out the essay.
Background information on what is delegation
According to Blanchard et. al. (1999) in most instances delegation is incorrectly used synonymously with empowerment. Delegation implies that the supervisor or manager retains ultimate authority, control and responsibility. Furthermore, delegation is a process that permits the transfer of authority and responsibility from superior to subordinate so that the subordinate can make his or her own decisions and act to deal with matters without constantly having to refer them to a higher authority for decision-making. According to Axley (1992:18) the process of delegating involves the following three activities:
? Assignment of tasks/duties: The manager delegates tasks to the subordinate that need to be executed. The subordinated will be held liable for the execution of the tasks.
? Granting authority: Along with the assigned work, managers provide subordinates a degree of autonomy in carrying out their new responsibilities, and this includes the freedom and monopoly to perform tasks with minimal supervision.
? Creating an obligation: In accepting a task and the authority necessary to carry out the task, the subordinate accepts an obligation or assumes responsibility on behalf of the superior to complete the task as requested.
Therefore, it is evident that delegation is a deliberate, planned and organized sharing of responsibilities within managers and subordinates. Furthermore, sharing of activities involves working with employees to set goals, and also grant adequate responsibility and authority to accomplish them.
How delegation develops subordinates
The power of developmental delegation is partly revealed by Blanchard, et. al. (1999)’s model of situational management. By moving staff, superiors or colleagues along the path from direction to delegation, the manager (or other delegator) improves employee skills, bolsters employee confidence and commitment and eventually builds the organization’s capacity to get things done effectively while creating discretionary time for himself or herself. For instance, when a manager presents a problem and asks subordinates for ideas and suggestions, and then makes a decision. In addition, the manager ultimately decides, but the subordinates provide and analyse much of the information on which the decision is based. The manager benefits from their knowledge and experience. Furthermore, in an organisation where managers involve subordinates in decision making. The organisation is likely to have active and motivated subordinates that are capable of handling tasks at the higher level, due to the fact that a common goal is shared by managers and subordinates. According to Goodworth (1985) participatory approaches are, in general, associated with higher levels of employee motivation, acceptance of and adaptability to change, managerial decision quality, teamwork and morale, and individual employee development. When decision-making responsibilities are shared, slumbering organizations often “wake up.” Workers will increase their expectations of both themselves and the organization.
Furthermore, Hellen (1998) suggested additional considerations to remember when using delegation to help develop subordinates. The considerations are as follows:
? Reinforce a delegatee’s role: when appointing delegatees, clearly state the delegatee’s role to team members and external stakeholders. This builds a support network for the delegatee’s task while creating line of sight among the team to help the delegatee to accept ownership and accountability
? Provide support: during virtually all stages of an assignment, delegatees will need positive support. sources of support include provision of information, time, resources and encouragement. The delegator should also be open to the possibility of a delegatee needing extra help in some circumstances.
? Give feedback: one of the most powerful ways to promote a person’s growth is to provide timely feedback, both formally and informally, as a part of two-way communication. Both formal and informal feedback provide an opportunity to recognize and analyse achievements, discuss problems and identify solutions.
? Praise and reward: It is important to give credit where credit is due, both one-on-one and publicly. The manager should identify faults and errors. However, praise and reward play more important parts in motivating future commitment and performance.
? Analyse difficulties: if things do not go according to plan, the delegator and delegatee should analyse and learn from difficulties that are encountered. Problems can come from many sources, including unclear instructions, insufficient delegatee skills/experience, a changing environment or incongruent organizational procedures. Whatever the difficulties they are to be learned from with an eye to future progress.
? Develop your own delegation skills: the delegator should avoid being complacent about his or her own performance as a delegator. Delegators should proactively seek training, coaching and feedback from a variety of sources.
Therefore, it is evident that shared decision making can improve the quality and acceptance of decisions, bolster worker motivation and self-esteem, increase sense of ownership and improve interpersonal relations with employees.
How delegation allows public managers to achieve more.
Effective managers routinely delegate tasks to their subordinates. Ineffective managers try to do everything by themselves. This is why delegation is an essential manager skill or an effective management tool. Furthermore, delegation is not just about managing workload. According to Lawton et. al (1994) effective managers understand the value of growing the team that they already have.
Boje ; Smith (2010:72) quoted Sir Richard Branson
“One of the key skills I learned as a young businessman was the power of delegation. That has prompted me to bring in strong managers to build the Virgin companies, which allowed me to focus on our latest ideas and projects, and on finding the next businesses to start up. Along with my ability to listen to other people and realize when their suggestions are better than my own, this has helped me to attract and retain the excellent people on our team. If I set them challenges, keep encouraging them and create a dynamic environment, I find that people will always work hard.”
The quote illustrates that effective public manager delegation enables managers to leverage energy from subordinates. It also allows managers to accomplish much more than they would be able to do on their own. Furthermore, through delegation managers are also able to save time and energy to redirect focus in higher level activities such as: planning, setting objectives and monitor performance. Public Management jobs are complex and hectic and so time becomes precious.
The use of delegation gives management freedom to focus on managerial tasks such as: planning, organising, and controlling. Moreover, delegation is an effective tool that help in harnessing skills of the subordinates. A more skilled workforce has more flexibility in executing tasks and that cultivates a culture a of effective decision makers. However, lack of delegation sharply reduces what a manager can achieve. According to McConkey (1986) managers that decide against delegating are likely to suffer the following: derailed productivity levels, whirlwind of activities that are not channelled towards benefiting the organisation and also limited contributions accompanied by frustration and excessive personal effort. Therefore, it is evident that delegation plays a significant role in enabling managers to execute tasks and directly channel energy towards efforts that will benefit the organisation while also enhancing subordinate’s development skills.
How delegation promotes satisfaction among subordinates
According to Lewis et. al. (2004) workers are more skilled today than ever before, and managers work in flatter hierarchies than ever before. Thus, good delegators feel the need to simply rely on the creativity, anticipatory thinking and communication skills of delegatees. In other words, delegation helps subordinates in achieving functional empowerment and building employees self-confidence and motivation for excellency in performance. Delegation is more likely to be successful if a subordinate has the job knowledge required by new responsibilities and will take the initiative to deal with problems without waiting for direction.
Hence, it is reasonable to expect that a manager will delegate more to a subordinate who is perceived to be competent. Furthermore, delegates increasing responsibilities with associated authority to the individual, subordinate freedom in decision making increases. This relationship of managers relinquishing responsibility and authority, and subordinates simultaneously gaining increased ownership is central to effective delegation. According to Gautier (2007) one of the key elements delve into is how skilful delegation impacts the workforce. She alluded that a sense of contribution and achievement are central to job and career satisfaction. Therefore, delegation is a conduit to this end. When power and authority are delegated to employees they have more freedom to work autonomously and experience a range of positive outcomes such as higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, innovative behaviour and task performance Joyce (2015:67)
Why delegation builds mutual trust and confidence
According to Bass (1990) effective delegation implies that one has been empowered by one’s superior to take responsibility for certain activities. Furthermore, delegation of tasks by manger is closely related to empowerment. According to Bass (1990) empowerment is a motivational concept related to self-efficacy. In other words, subordinates experience psychological empowerment when they feel responsible for meaningful tasks. Furthermore, delegation make subordinates feel that their job is meaningful and they are responsible for work outcomes. Managers are more likely to delegate to competent subordinates who have worked for them for a relatively long time. The trust between the subordinates and public managers is as a results of good working experience that is coupled with proper communication, clear objectives, competency to perform tasks at hand. Therefore, when subordinates are delegated, they may feel trusted, organisationally important, and higher status within organization. According to Gardner et. al. (2004) delegation may also boost subordinates’ self-esteem and make them believe that they are capable of performing tasks successfully and that their behaviour makes a difference. Moreover, delegation enables subordinates to exercise self-direction and control, provides employees with meaning, perceptions of self-efficacy and self-determination and the perception that they make an impact. Therefore, it is evident that trust and confidence are fostered through successful experiences with delegated tasks.