The Corporation: The corporation is one of the great inventions of man. They are all formed to achieve some objectives that affect humanity at some level, extent or another. This may necessitate just a few or several people working together and doing many things. Typically, superior officers, in a scalar chain, are charged with the responsibility of getting some large objectives achieved. To enable the superior officers to achieve the large objectives, subordinate staff are made available to them depending on specific and general requirements of the organisation. In many cases, the superior officers have a considerable say in who works under them or not. With time, they must also able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their staff, as well as ensure that they are appropriately trained and developed to be able to discharge what is expected of or assigned to them.
Given the large volume of activities, minor and major, that need to be done, superior officers can only hope to achieve the larger objectives assigned to them if they can get all of the relatively ‘smaller’ goals achieved by their staff. Without these ‘smaller’ goals being achieved, they can at best distract superior officers or at worst frustrate the achievement of the overall corporate objectives. If you realize that everyone of us has only twenty-four hours in a day, within which we have to answer phone calls; respond to mails; hold staff meetings for tactical and strategic purposes; product and market development planning; meet with suppliers; visit with customers; meet with regulators; etc., then it must occur to us that the need to delegate and be able to delegate well is an absolute must for the success of the superior officer and consequently the organization.
What is Delegation? From a management point of view, delegation can be defined as the conferment of authority by a superior officer, who has the right to do so, to a subordinate staff for the purpose of getting certain things done. The superior, who has the ultimate responsibility of getting a ‘large’ action or several actions accomplished, would normally ‘delegate’ to a subordinate a part of that action to get it done.
Delegation does not absolve the superior officer of the ultimate responsibility of getting the desired results achieved. It is also neither an abdication of responsibility nor a defense in the event of failure.
Benefits of Delegation: There are benefits to the society, organization, the superior officer and the subordinate officer. For instance, delegation allows for the full and effective use of available resources; it frees senior officers engaged in handling strategic issues away from routine activities that can be handled very well by junior officers; it engenders trust and confidence along the chain of authority as well as motivates subordinate officers; it helps develop junior officers and prepare them for higher responsibilities; it is a veritable and hands-on training system for developing the tasks- and relationship- skills of junior staff in an organization; it is a way of leveraging on other available resources to get a lot more done and achieved. These resources may be the skills and time of other employees or external organisations.
The overall expected effect of skillful delegation is the exponential increase in efficiency and effectiveness of the corporation through collective leverage of variant skills and competencies.
The superior officer that can effectively delegate is a great asset to an organisation.
What Tasks Can You Delegate?
What tasks you can delegate will be determined by the following:
What are the objectives…
What needs to be done…
What will measure success…
What resources and skills are available within the organization…
What resources and skills, outside the organization can you engage…
Obviously, large corporations, with sufficient number of trained personnel in various units, offer the greatest opportunities and leeway for their superior officers to delegate tasks. For the entrepreneur, with limited resources, they have less room to maneuver. Nonetheless, it is critical, even more at this stage, to be able to delegate both within and outside the small corporation as may be bring the greatest benefits.
Who Do You Delegate To? The ultimate objective of delegation is to get things done cheaper, faster and perhaps better by subordinate officers than if the same task was to be handled by the superior officer, thereby freeing the superiors to handle more strategic and critical tasks. The superior officer must therefore be adept at the following:
- Identifying which tasks they should focus on while delegating others to others.
- Identifying which subordinate staff has the requisite skills (training, experience, etc.) to handle the task to be delegated. Where any variable is missing, the superior officer should, in the spirit of training, fairness and necessary caution, provide at least a basic guidance, depending on the other competencies of the subordinate.
- Communicating clear objectives (what needs to be done, timing requirements, etc.)
- Ensure that the required resources for getting the tasks completed are provided.
A Final Word: Delegation is key to both the efficiency and effectiveness of any organization. Any superior superior officer that is not adept at delegation is not only an extra weight to an organization but a drag as well. Inability to delegate is a demonstration of lack of self-confidence in a senior staff as well as unwillingness to train and trust others. Delegation is key to leveraging the use of available resources and leveraging the use of available resources is key to success and growth.
Delegation is key to your personal sanity and business success and growth.