Delegating Tasks: Meaning, Steps, Importance, Advantages & Disadvantages

There is no such thing as a one-person show; even the most successful corporate Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would at some point have to delegate tasks. Delegation is an essential ability for an organization or a team to grow. Delegating tasks allows you to devote more time to strategic projects.

Delegating tasks is perhaps the most helpful thing a manager or supervisor can do. Delegating tasks gives you more time to focus on high-impact jobs, helps consensus build amongst the team and allows your team members to participate in exciting projects but it could be damaging when given to the wrong team hence the need for effective and efficient delegation of tasks.

However, rookie managers or supervisors may find it challenging to determine what to delegate and how to do so. Thus, delegating is a leadership talent that may be learnt.

To improve your knowledge of delegation, the remainder of this text is organized as follows: the meaning of delegation, steps, importance, advantage, and drawback of delegation.

Delegating Tasks: Meaning, Steps, Importance, Advantages & Disadvantages 1

What is the Meaning of Task Delegation?

The act of delegating work and efforts to other team members is known as delegation. You may delegate work to more equitably distribute responsibility or because the task or initiative is more relevant to another team member’s priorities, abilities, or interests. One will be a better manager if they know when and how to delegate.

A delegation that works strengthens team abilities and allows team members to discover new talents. Delegation of authority entails enlisting the support of others to deal with the two most typical issues faced by leaders: limited resources and escalating expectations. Delegation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Many managers or supervisors make the fundamental error of assuming that delegating responsibilities merely entails handing over work from senior to junior personnel.

If you believe you will be replaced as a team member, you might avoid delegation. However, the delegation of power allows your team to learn from you while still having your advice and support, allowing you to grow and expand.

Examples of Delegating Tasks

Example 1:

Educating and Empowering Your Employees

James and Sarah, two new interns, have recently joined Datawits, a data science firm. Lately, the manager has been inundated with different product development and has not had time to complete other chores like writing proposals or speaking with important stakeholders.

James worked as a content writer before joining Datawits, and Sarah worked in a contact centre. The manager chooses to play to each intern’s strengths and assigns James to produce proposals and Sarah the task of speaking with key stakeholders. The manager instructs both interns on how to complete the assignment successfully and provides detailed guidance on how to do so. In addition, the manager follows up with each intern regularly to ensure that they are completing their jobs appropriately.

Example 2

Hiring a Helping Hand

James has recently launched a new company in Edinburg, specializing in data science and data analysis. The company’s business concept is centered on product development around the data analytics value chain: data gathering, cleaning, analysis and visualization.  James is the company’s only founder and has been handling all aspects of the firm on his own, including marketing, bookkeeping, and business strategy. He has been so swamped with work that he can’t focus on what he does best: finding good deals on houses to flip. He hires a junior accountant and a marketing manager to assign work, which relieves him stress and improves his efficiency. James can focus on what he does best increasing efficiency and lowering stress due to this.

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Delegation is frequent in workplaces where democratic leadership is practiced. Employees are motivated by leaders who give them additional authority. They provide employees with more responsibility and control over their work. Employees can also use this strategy to learn and develop themselves to become more responsible and accountable for their judgments.

More so, companies with decentralized and centralized organizational structures use delegation to varying degrees. Due to the decentralized organizational structure, lower-level employees who tasks are delegated can have more decision-making authority.

Steps in Delegating Tasks?

The first step to delegating tasks is determining the employee’s competencies and capacities. Not all employees, for example, are ready to take on increased responsibilities and authority. As a result, selecting the most appropriate one is critical for increased productivity and motivation.

More so, before granting authority, superiors delegating tasks need to provide resources and support facilities to the people chosen to do a task. Some significant factors to consider when delegating include:

  • Ensure that capacity, abilities, and expertise are sufficient, and the subordinates are qualified to take on increased responsibilities.
  • Clearly defined objectives that help subordinates be aware of what their superiors expect of them.
  • The existence of sufficient authority and accountability. More so, the organization, must match the given authority and responsibility to the competence and talents of the subordinates. As a result, adopting a new role does not cause people to become stressed but keeps people energized and driven.
  • Provision of a well-defined procedure to avoid ambiguity when subordinates carry out specified tasks.
  • Availability of indicators that can be used to track progress. The supervisor will have to develop criteria for evaluating how well subordinates perform in their delegated duty and a timeline for providing constructive comments.

When to Delegate Work?

When it comes to delegating work, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But, in general, ask yourself a few questions to see if delegating this work is a good idea.

Before allocating responsibilities, consider the following questions:

  • Is this work more in line with the priorities of another team member?
  • Is there anyone else who has the necessary knowledge and context to complete this task?
  • Is there an opportunity for someone else to learn and grow at this job?
  • Will this project be repeated in the future?
  • Do I have enough time to adequately delegate this task, including training, answering queries, and reviewing the other person’s work?
  • Is this something I should work on myself (due to the high-impact or business-critical nature)?
  • Will the project’s success be harmed if it fails?
  • Do we have time to redo the work if it needs to be redone?
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Guidelines for Delegating Tasks

Although delegating duties increases efficiency and production while also improving time management, it is critical to do it effectively. Here are a few points to bear in mind:

  1. Ascertain that the objectives are clear and that the person taking on the new task has the resources necessary to do it successfully.
  2. Inquire about any concerns, and be open to new ideas and solutions.
  3. Set a limit on how much time and money should be spent on the outsourced work.
  4. Play to the strengths of the individual. Each person has a distinct skill set and potential. Delegate tasks that are likely to improve overall efficiency.
  5. Follow up on long-term delegated assignments to keep your employees on track.

Importance of Delegating Tasks

Delegation of tasks is essential for the following reasons;

It Improves a Team’s and Individual Efficiency: Delegating work to others allows an individual to transfer work to people with more appropriate skills for the task at hand. Having the CEO handle administrative tasks, for example, would be inefficient; this is something that others should take. Delegating the administrative task to a subordinate will make the CEO more successful in other tasks they are handling and reduce their stress level.  Delegating tasks also can boost a firm’s motivation, skill development, and task distribution.

It Helps Individuals to Develop Their Skills: Delegation can play an important role in coaching and training others,  especially when work is delegated to someone unfamiliar with the task.  It is a critical method for assisting them in developing new skills. Delegating develops employees’ skills and experience in lower-level roles to participate in decision-making actively. As a result, they are prepared to take on more prominent roles, which will help them later in a higher positions.

It Helps Superiors to Concentrate on Taking an Active Role: By delegating jobs and reducing their workload, managers may be able to take a more active part in more strategic matters and focus on other things that require expertise and that their subordinates cannot handle.

Advantages of Delegating Tasks

Delegating has various advantages, including ensuring that workloads and responsibilities are managed inside companies or teams. On the one hand, delegating tasks motivates some employees because they have the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and have more significant influence over their work.

Other advantages of task delegating are;

  1. Lower-level employees have the opportunity to develop new skills and information to complete delegated tasks efficiently. As their workloads increase, lower-level team members can learn to make better judgments and manage their time more effectively.
  2. Delegating tasks not only allows employees to expand their skills and makes their daily routines more enjoyable. When employees complete delegated tasks, their tasks are more varied and present new challenges, reducing boredom and demotivation associated with repeated, monotonous employment.
  3. Through delegation, subordinates can take a more active role in their work. As a result, they are more engaged in their work, motivating them to perform at their best.
  4. Delegating tasks helps superiors and subordinates to develop a symbiotic relationship and mutual trust that enables them to work together more effectively to accomplish company initiatives and strategies.
  5. Delegation helps individuals hone and practice decision-making abilities, which are required in higher-level positions. As a result, when the company promotes them. Finally, they can quickly rise through the ranks of higher-level positions, requiring less training.
  6. Delegating tasks enable employees to develop additional decision-making authority to reach their full potential.
  7. Employees are taught to be more responsible for duties and tasks that have been given to them through delegation. It helps to generate the mindset that because their manager trusts them with a task, they should give it their all and be more accountable.
  8. Delegation also enables organizations to grow and improve their competitiveness in today’s market. Businesses may struggle to expand and become more competitive if they do not delegate. For example, due to taking on too many responsibilities, the superiors in an organization might become overworked and unable to take on other tasks that increase their competitive advantage.
  9. Delegating tasks can increase job satisfaction and job retention because employees can manage their work lives. They also can develop themselves to achieve a more advanced career. Finally, they are happy working in the company and are reluctant to switch to another company.
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Disadvantages of Delegating Tasks

Delegating tasks could go wrong when subordinates are unprepared and goals are not specified. Aside from that, some of the other disadvantages of delegating tasks include:

  1. Delegating tasks might harm the reputation of subordinates when they fail to fulfil their responsibilities.
  2. Superiors may lose management authority, which is undesirable if they perform poorly or fail to meet expectations in delegating a task to a subordinate.
  3. A superior might feel insecure when management promotes a subordinate to a higher position if he performs well and is more effective in a task delegated to him by the superior.
  4. Delegating tasks could lead to increased workload. Superiors frequently delegate time-consuming chores to subordinates. As a result, it neither improves job satisfaction nor makes work more engaging. Instead, it makes employees more bored and burdens them with an immense workload.
  5. Delegating tasks could cause an interpersonal rift between coworkers. A superior, for example, may delegate authority to a team member to oversee their peers because they are deemed capable. Instead of being productive, it may cause the other colleagues to become irritated with one another because the person the task of supervising is delegated to is on the same organizational level as them.

Delegating responsibilities to others is a necessary part of being productive at work. Assigning subordinates to a task relieves you of some of the burdens, but it also allows your junior employees to grow and develop. The delegation, when done correctly, may significantly boost your team’s productivity and motivation. On the other hand, Delegation going badly can result in inefficiency and confusion. To help yourself and your team flourish, you must strategically delegate.