I have seen, and probably been accused of, dumping responsibilities on people inappropriately and calling it delegation. This form of delegation actually does more harm than good for an organization, because it leaves projects undone or completed sub-par, kills employee morale and motivation, and keeps the mission of the organization from reaching its full potential. Recently I asked two of our staff people to whom I delegate frequently how I am doing in this area. It was a good conversation and helped write this post.
The bottom line is that delegation involves more than just ridding oneself of responsibility. You can’t dump and run and call it delegation.
For delegation to be effective the delegator must ensure the person assuming the delegated project receives:
Expectations – The person receiving the assignment must know the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve. They need to know what a win looks like. The question “Why are we doing this?” should be answered clearly in their mind.
Knowledge - The delegator insures the proper training, coaching and education have been received. The delegator should remain available during the process so that questions or uncertainties of details that arise can be answered.
Resources – Good delegation involves having adequate resources and money to accomplish the task assigned. Nothing is more frustrating than being asked to complete a project without the tools with which to do it.
Accountability – Proper delegation involves follow up and evaluation of the delegated assignment. This is healthy for the delegator, the person receiving delegation, and the organization.
Appreciation – The delegation isn’t complete until the delegator recognizes the accomplishment of the one who completed the task. Failing to do so limits the leader’s ability to continue healthy delegation.
What would you add? Have you ever received a “dumping” that was called delegation?