Effective Delegation

We all know what it feels like to be overwhelmed: Too much on your plate, running behind, work piling up, deadlines approaching, and not enough time in the world. In the midst of chaos the last thing you want to hear is that you should delegate. However, effective delegation can save you time and sanity, and will allow you to focus on the tasks you should be performing.

So how can you delegate effectively? First, you need to understand what you can and cannot delegate.

Three things must go along with any delegated task:

1. Authority
2. Accountability
3. Responsibility

Only authority can be delegated. Responsibility and accountability must be shared. You are still responsible and will be held accountable for the task and that does not change even if authority is passed to someone else. Without authority staff cannot share the accountability and responsibility for efforts over which you have no control. Success depends on the efforts and abilities of those you delegate to, and if your staff does not take ownership in the task delegated there is no true power to act. This means you need to let go of authority and have faith that the task will be completed even if it is completed in a different manner than you would have done it.

Effective delegation allows us to spend more of our time doing the important tasks we are good at while allowing others to spend more of their time the same way. One of the six sigma nine categories of waste is not utilizing people’s talents, and delegation is one method for eliminating that waste.