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How to Make Delegation Effective in 12 Ways

How to make delegation effective?

The delegation can be made effective by:

how to make delegation effective

Image credits © Gaurav Akrani.

  1. Unity of Command,
  2. Scalar Chain,
  3. Principle of authority and responsibility,
  4. Principle of delegation by results expected,
  5. Principle of absoluteness of responsibility,
  6. Principle of functional department,
  7. Proper motivation,
  8. Proper training,
  9. Active control system,
  10. Knowledge of what to delegate,
  11. Quality of subordinates, and
  12. Flow of authority and accountability.

Now let's discuss how to make delegation effective.

1. Unity of Command

Only one superior should give orders to his subordinate. If there are more than one superior for each subordinate, it will create a lot of confusion, chaos, conflict and disorder within the organisation. The junior won't understand whose order to follow and whom to report their difficulties. It will negatively impact the discipline, efficiency and productivity of the institution.

Therefore, unity of command must be maintained to make delegation efficient and functional.

2. Scalar Chain

The line of authority from superiors to subordinates must be crystal clear throughout the organisation. In other words, every junior should know who is his superior (or boss) and under whom he is working. He should also know who delegates authority to him. He should be aware of whom to contact if there arise any work-related problems or difficulties.

So, a scalar chain is necessary for effective delegation.

3. Principle of Authority and Responsibility

Authority and responsibility go hand in hand with each other. They are two different sides of the same coin. They are inseparable from each other. When a person gets an authority, he should also be made aware of his prime responsibility. Authority without any reasonable responsibility is a risky affair and venerable to being misused optimally by unscrupulous individuals.

This principle protects such abuse of authority and makes delegation effective through responsibility.

4. Principle of Delegation by Results Expected

The delegation of duty to a subordinate should be done only according to the results expected from him. He should not be assigned work that is way beyond his abilities. He should be given only that work that suits his expertise, interest, and capacity. Superior should take care to see that his subordinate is aware of the assigned job's goal, works efficiently and is capable of giving expected results on time.

Hence, delegation can be made effective by assigning work to only those juniors who can give expected results.

5. Principle of Absoluteness of Responsibility

Unlike authority, the responsibility cannot be delegated. It is not shareable and remains only with the superior. He is held accountable not only for his work but also for that work of his subordinates.

Therefore, care must be taken while delegating important duties to the juniors.

The act of delegation is a serious step and, therefore, must be done with utmost care.

Before delegating duties, care must be taken to consider prior all possible future outcomes.

Thus, the principle of absoluteness of responsibility binds the superior to delegate with caution. This alertness on his behalf makes the process of delegation effective.

6. Principle of Functional Department

The institution should get organized into different functional departments or units. Duties, responsibilities and authorities of each department must be well-defined. There should be no confusion or conflict regarding which department should handle a particular work and which not.

If departmentalisation is successful only then delegation will be efficient.

7. Proper Motivation

Delegation adds up to the workload on the subordinate. Here, along with doing his regular job, he is ordered to do an additional task. The new responsibility puts a mental stress and physical pressure on him. It can ultimately demotivate him and affect his job performance. The demotivation can be prevented by releasing appropriate incentives on time. He should be given some additional perks, bonus, status, promotion, rewards, etc. to keep him motivated.

Hence, the proper motivation of subordinates makes delegation more result-oriented endeavour.

8. Proper Training

The delegation of authority is not a simple task. It demands judgement, trust, responsibility and a good experience.

If authority gets delegated to an incapable subordinate, it might not give expected results. It will not only lead to a waste of productive time and resources but will also demotivate a hardworking subordinate.

Therefore, training becomes a necessity.

Proper training should be given to both superiors as well as subordinates:

  1. The superiors should be trained well to delegate, direct, communicate, control, etc.
  2. Similarly, the juniors too should be trained in job techniques, leadership qualities, building self-confidence, so on.

So, training empowers the act of delegation to function efficiently.

9. Active Control System

The delegation will be effective only when the control system remains active.

In other words, superior must never let go off his control on the work delegated to a subordinate.

Superior must keep a regular check on how the authority is being used by his subordinate. He must routinely access the actual performance and progress of the subordinate with the help of some pre-determined standards.

  1. If the assigned work's progress is within expectations, the delegation shall be continued.
  2. If there are minor variations in work progress, then corrective measures should be suggested.
  3. If deviations are major and a matter of concern, it would be better to discontinue the delegation and seek someone else who is more capable of doing the same work.

Only such a strict control system will improve the effectiveness of delegation.

10. Knowledge of What to Delegate?

The superior should be smart and experienced enough to figure out what to and what not to delegate:

  1. He must always keep valuable and sensitive workload for himself. For example, he should personally handle important matters related to planning, coordinating and controlling.
  2. He should delegate only unimportant, routine and monotonous nature of work to his subordinate.

This knowledge will certainly improve the effectiveness of delegation.

11. Quality of Subordinates

Before delegating, the qualities of a subordinate must be considered.

He should be:

  • Mature,
  • Trustworthy,
  • Sincere,
  • Obedient,
  • Experienced,
  • Skillful,
  • Punctual,
  • Hardworking,
  • Stress handler,
  • Responsible,
  • Result-oriented,
  • Committed to his duties, etc.

If he has above merits, he is then suitable for a delegation of authority from his superior.

Therefore, choosing a right subordinate or junior is important to enhance the effectiveness of delegation.

12. Flow of Authority and Accountability

The superior always delegates authority to his subordinate. In other words, the authority always flows in a downward direction. On the other hand, the subordinate is accountable to his superior. It means the accountability flow in the upward direction.

People involved in the process of delegation should know this flow to improve its functionality or effectiveness.


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