Effective Delegation

How to handle the transfer of responsibility


3). Delegate “occupational hobbies.”

These are the duties you should have delegated a long time ago, but have not because they are too much fun. It is OK to keep a couple, but at least recognize them for what they are. They are easy, enjoyable, and much better done by someone else. It may not seem right to delegate the very aspect of your job that you enjoy most, yet these are often the tasks that you hang on to even though they do not represent the best use of your time and energy. They often relate to your areas of expertise or an earlier position that you had with the company. A perfect example is a manager troubleshooting an aircraft when there are many excellent technicians with troubleshooting skills on staff. Holding on to specific duties becomes a manager’s means of protecting his/her turf.

A manager has been attending the same aircraft manufacturer’s “technical” seminars each year for several years. He/she looks upon the assignment as a chance to get away and see old friends. Actually, it is no longer necessary for the manager to attend this technical seminar. One of his/her technical supervisors could achieve better results. Do you see yourself in this or comparable situations? Are you simply indulging yourself? Would your career be better served by spending time at management-related seminars? Take a look at your priorities.

What not to delegate
While the majority of aviation supervisors do not delegate enough of their work, there is the occasional manager who delegates entirely too much. For many reasons there are certain tasks that simply cannot be delegated to your subordinates. From the chief executive of the company on down, everyone has obligations and responsibilities that are not to be delegated. These are among the very reasons that you have your job rather than a subordinate position. Guidelines for determining what should not be delegated are:

1). Do not delegate rituals.

There are certain functions that require a person of specific position to be present. For example, retiring employees do not expect to have their retirement gift presented by the president’s secretary. They expect and deserve to have someone as important as the president in attendance.

2). Do not delegate personnel or confidential matters.

Personnel decisions such as evaluations, promotions, or dismissals, are generally sensitive and often difficult decisions to make. While you may need the confidential input of your subordinates on personnel issues, the job and responsibility is yours. An analysis of your department’s job classifications and pay scale may seem like a time-consuming project and a prime job for delegation. This is a job for management. You can just imagine the problems in maintaining the confidentiality of all salaries within a department. This is not a job for subordinates.

3). Do not delegate policy-making.

Responsibilities and tasks within a certain policy area can be delegated, but never delegate the actual formulation of a policy. Policy sets the limits of decision-making. Responsibility for policy-making within specific limited guidelines may take place. For example, credit supervisors develop general credit policies of business. Yet to grant credit to specific customers up to a certain dollar limit is often granted to sales supervisors.

4). Do not delegate crisis.

Crisis will happen. A crisis does not offer the time for initiating delegation. When one does occur, it is the responsibility of the manager to handle problems and find the solution. Studies have shown that in time of crisis, successful supervisors with good delegation skills are able to maintain their leadership role. This is because they have already laid the groundwork for delegation prior to the crisis. Their subordinates are self-motivated and enthusiastic team players. They know what to expect. They are part of a trained team. A crisis in business demands skill and experience.

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