In all but the smallest of organizations, some degree of delegation is necessary, as there are physical and mental limitations to the work that can be undertaken by any manager. This in turn allows subordinates to gain experience and demonstrate how they can perform. From these points the following practical advantages can be derived:
i. The workload of the manager is reduced allowing more time to concentrate on strategic duties.
ii. Subordinates can gain good experience for future management.
iii. Delegation can lead to decentralization, which can allow divisional or branch managers to react quicker to local changes than managers at head office.
iv. Allowing subordinates to perform work of a higher grade can aid their development.
v. Management can see how subordinates tackle work of a higher grade, and how they cope with extra authority.
vi. Effective deployment of resources fulfils value for money criteria.
When a manager or supervisor delegates there is a calculated risk being taken on the abilities of the subordinate. The best ways to ensure effective delegation are to:
i. Define the limits of authority delegated to the subordinate by giving an outline of the job, the control limits and the desired standards and ensuring that the subordinate accepts and understands what is involved.
ii. Allocate sufficient resources.
iii. Be satisfied that the subordinate is competent to exercise that authority.
iv. Be disciplined enough to permit the subordinate the full use of that authority without constant checks and interference and to be willing to listen to the ideas of the subordinate.
v. Link achievement with reward.
There are common problems associated with delegation, namely:
i. Failure to delegate sufficient authority
ii. Need for higher managerial skill
iii. Loss of direct control
iv. Lack of confidence in both the subordinate and the person delegating
v. Danger of a less satisfactory outcome/lower productivity
vi. Fear of losing one’s job to a good subordinate
vii. Boss is secure and comfortable in his old job
viii. Subordinate may become impatient for monetary recognition
ix. Doubt over what to delegate and what to keep
x. Failure to monitor and counsel
The problems can be minimized by considering the following points:
i. The manager should not delegate so much as to overload a subordinate totally
ii. The employee has reasonable skill and experience in the area concerned
iii. The employee is carefully selected and trained
iv. Appropriate authority is delegated
v. The manager remembers to monitor and control
vi. The manager is not simply “passing the buck” or “opting out”
vii. All concerned know that the task has been delegated. There is an open communication system
viii. The manager puts time aside for coaching and guiding
ix. If delegation goes well, then the person will expect a reward, e.g., upgrade job/more pay.