Delegation as a Leadership Style

Tips for effective delegation

I find the most powerful and effective people are those who are forward thinkers and who wish to stretch their imagination. 

One such person is Susan Heathfeild whose work I often share with you. She is a management and organisation development consultant who specialises in human resources issues and in management development to create forward thinking workplaces.

This week I share with you her thoughts on effective delegation and I only wish I had read this years ago when I had many staff myself. I always thought delegation was a relinquishing of power and control, boy was I wrong, in fact it is the total opposite.

According to Susan your leadership style is situational. Your leadership style depends on the task, the team or individual’s capabilities and knowledge, the time and tools available and the results desired. 

As a supervisor, manager or team leader, you make daily decisions about the appropriate leadership style to employ in each work situation. You want to foster employee involvement and employee empowerment to enable your team members or individuals to contribute their best effort. These tips for successful delegation of authority will help you help your therapists succeed when they are most empowered.

Leadership Style Tips

  • Whenever possible, when delegating work, give the person a whole task to do. (If you can’t give them a whole task, make sure they understand the overall purpose of the project or task. Staff members contribute most effectively when they are aware of the big picture.)
  • Make sure the person understands exactly what you want them to do. Ask questions, watch the work performed or have the employee give you feedback to make sure your instructions were understood.
  • If you have a picture of what a successful outcome or output will look like, share your picture with them. You want to make the person right. You don’t want to fool the person to whom you delegate authority for a task, into believing that any outcome will do, unless you really feel that way.
  • Identify the key points of the project or dates when you want feedback about progress. This is the critical path that provides you with the feedback you need without causing you to micromanage your direct report or team. You need assurance that the delegated task or project is on track. You also need the opportunity to influence the project’s direction and the team or individual’s decisions.
  • Identify the measurements or the outcome you will use to determine that the project was successfully completed. (This will make performance development planning more measurable and less subjective, too.)
  • Determine, in advance, how you will thank and reward the person for their successful completion of the task or project you delegated.

Successful delegation of authority as a leadership style takes time and energy, but it’s worth the time and energy to help employee involvement and employee empowerment succeed as a leadership style. It’s worth the time and energy to help employees succeed, develop and meet your expectations. You build the employee’s self-confidence and people who feel successful usually are successful.


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