Delegation, like many of the factors involved in conducting day-to-day business, exists on a spectrum.
The U.S armed forces are well known for mandating that subordinates give input to commanding officers, regardless of the way that the military is portrayed in popular movies and television shows. In the same way, delegating in the civilian business world means learning how to get junior personnel more involved.
Jim Schleckser, a contributor to Inc.com, has devoted serious effort to increasing our understanding of what successful delegation looks like. He suggests that the first step to becoming better in this area is to stop viewing the process as black or white, and that the best way to assign tasks and responsibilities is to delve into the gray areas.
Immediately moving past the elementary notion of issuing commands like a war-time general on the front lines, the easiest way to approach delegation is by presenting an issue to someone, and then asking for them to come back with some viable options. In turn, the manager then makes the final decision, ideally based on one of these options. This is a great way to gauge the capabilities and situational awareness of the people on your team. Once people on the team have proven themselves capable in this regard, the following stage would be to encourage them to select the single best way to solve the problem, but to leave the final decision to the manager.
If someone has successfully proven themselves up to this point, it is time to extend to them greater authority. In this scenario, they still make a final recommendation, but they are also allowed to put this idea into effect after a pre-determined period of time if the manager does not issue another directive. For example, the member of your team who has been given this responsibility is free to act upon their recommendation if the manager does not decide to alter the plan by the close of business.
After a valued team member has consistently proven that they are capable of operating within this system, it is time to convey the final steps of delegation to them. In this version, the employee will either report on the decision after it was already put into practice, or for the sake of time management, they may never even report the decision. While reaching this final stage may be initially unnerving, it will ultimately free management’s time and allow those who are more senior to solve increasingly complex problems.
For more information, please read:
The 5 Levels of Delegation You Need to Know to Lead Well | Inc