The key to maximum productivity is delegation. Not only does the practice allow good managers to increase the manpower available to any given task, it also allows good managers to place specialists where they can be most effective. This is one of the most important ways leaders can accomplish complex and long-term tasks.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that managers and leaders are not taught the principles of delegation and leadership in general, which can not only reduce the effectiveness of a given delegation strategy but can also become counter-productive in cases where the wrong people are assigned or a manager overestimates the capacity of his or her team and takes on work that can’t be practically accomplished. Here are some things to consider.
A manager’s job is to lead It is not enough to simply say “go forth and complete this task.” A good leader makes whatever resources are necessary available so the employee can do their job well. This is one of the most important principles any leader must learn, lest they lead their team members into impossible situations.
Concurrent with a delegated task is the responsibility to complete it. This is far more a matter of the relationship between the manager and the employee than it is an objective requirement for success. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the leader, whose position requires them to accept ultimate responsibility for success or failure. That principle must be clearly communicated to team members so there is no ambiguity.
With the responsibility must come the power. The alternative is a leader who trades in their managerial role for the role of department bottleneck. Asking employees to complete tasks without giving them what they need to do so is bad management and is often the cause of failures large and small in all kinds of different organizations.
Managers with the power to delegate and lead a team must understand one of their most vital functions is to clear the way for their people. This is the most efficient and valuable use of power in any organization.
Delegation is the proper and some would say primary function of a manager. Effective delegation is the mark of a successful team and a great leader.