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Management Tip (1): Delegation

You Can’t Do It All By Yourself: Delegate!

To delegate means to make another person responsible for undertaking a task. For this person, who is usually a subordinate, to complete the task I must give him/her the resources to complete the work. Just as important as resources I must also give him/her the power or authority over the resources ie to spend money, prioritise time to do the work, allocate tasks to others over which they have been given authority and use other resources they may need in terms of equipment, vehicles, computers and so on.

I may have delegated responsibility for a task to someone else but I am still accountable for the work. I must still ensure that the quality of the work is satisfactory, that it is completed on time and on budget, and that it meets any other qualities or specifications that were given to me.

When the work is delivered and something is not correct, I can’t say to my boss, “It’s not my fault because I gave that job to someone else!” I can delegate responsibility for undertaking the task but I can’t delegate accountability. If it all goes horribly wrong, it is still my fault – I’m accountable - and I will get called to the boss’s office to explain why it all went wrong!

Therefore, as I am going to be accountable for someone else’s work I want to be able to check on their progress easily. So, I find it useful to set the person to whom I have delegated work SMARTER goals.

There are many articles about target or goal setting on the internet. Mine is called 7 Steps to SMARTER Goal Setting. SMARTER goal setting is also a useful tool as part of time management and workload prioritisation - see my article.

When delegating tasks it is also important to empower your team and to support them with the things they need to do their job well. Here are my short articles on empowering others and supporting your team.

This article is just my view of the topic at title. Like a lot of people, I’ve done some training in management techniques but there is no substitute for experience. In my case, a bit of trial and error, learning from my mistakes, watching other managers and a little common sense. I hope you found it of interest and assistance.

Peter Cromarty

Peter Cromarty is a former air traffic controller and pilot. He spent 27 years as a safety regulator of ATM/CNS, airspace and aerodromes.

View his Linked In profile.

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