Significance of delegation in business leadership | Sunday Observer

Significance of delegation in business leadership

22 May, 2022

“Delegative Leadership” is a concept and a style in which managers delegate work to their subordinates and allow employees to use their own judgment and make decisions without having to go through them. This is known as an extremely effective leadership method that has more flexibility than other styles. The delegative leaders empower the followers to exercise autonomy by giving them the freedom to make decisions based on their own judgments.

In other words, delegation is a process that helps distribute tasks and responsibilities so that the employees can determine when and how they can proceed with the best action to achieve results. On the one hand, the delegation of responsibilities provides more time for the leaders to focus on other important aspects of the business and promotes the sense of belonging of the employees on the other.

In the delegative leadership style, the leader prefers to remain in the backseat and trusts subordinates to run the operation and achieve the goals. However, the delegative leaders offer their own expertise as advisors and provide resources, tools, or any other assistance to help subordinates solve their problems. 

Delegation in leadership not only helps get things done easily but also empowers employees to take the most appropriate and productive actions. Hence, delegation is a key tool for boosting team and organisational performance and efficiency.

However, delegation is more than simply passing off work to subordinates in order to relax. It is a method to make workloads more manageable and provide valuable training opportunities to the employees. Delegation is a sign of a strong leader who works along with the employees and also implicitly trusts them.

There are many advantages to a delegative leadership style for managers. It highlights and emphasises the expertise of the team. When a team under the leadership is properly motivated, they take the reins to proceed with the assigned tasks with a sense of inspiration. Everyone likes to work independently with the least amount of monitoring. The guidance can be minimal and the supervision can be less. It also helps increase team productivity immensely as the employees work with enhanced enthusiasm.

Workplace harmony

Delegation of tasks by the leader creates more workplace harmony as well as employee satisfaction.  Leaders who practice delegation without fear create workplaces where every worker is aware that his or her contribution is amply valued. This feeling inspires people to follow their duties with a passion that creates good consequences. They are given opportunity to create their own environment. They are also given the permission to set their own routines with unique approaches to obtain results. 

Delegative leaders can use their own skills strategically. In a true delegative environment, leaders using this style usually practice a hands-off strategy. In the modern application of this leadership style, however, the delegative leader applies their own knowledge and skills. They look for situations where this expertise helps the team move forward without enforcing unwanted pressure. These leaders volunteer advice whenever the staff members need professional advice.  They do not rely on rules or procedures but trust their personal expertise to be the foundation.

Another important advantage of delegation is the encouragement it provides for the prioritisation of tasks. The delegation starts with the identification of the nature of the tasks and whether they can be delegated. The leader has to determine the most vital assignment to be delegated and to whom such an assignment should be handed over. Most delegative leaders use the “Urgent vs. Important matrix” tool to develop prioritisation where a “to-do-list” is made based on the level of urgency and importance of each task.

By using this tool, leaders can categorise assignments based on their time sensitivity and significance. For example, less critical but urgent tasks or decisions, such as responding to a routine request from another team, can most likely be assigned. Tasks that are both extremely critical and urgent may also be candidates for delegation but to a more experienced team member.

Delegation of tasks encourages inculcating new skills in the staff. Delegation helps team leaders and their direct reports develop new abilities. It helps leaders get into the routine of taking responsibility for consequences without feeling duty-bound to do everything themselves.

When leaders understand how to delegate effectively, they improve their capacity to establish expectations, provide feedback, and ensure that others are held accountable. Individuals who are given duties have the opportunity to learn new processes or mingle with team members with whom they usually interact. These new experiences assist them to develop skills such as management, teamwork, and communication.

Negative effects

We have discussed the advantages of delegation. Let us look at the negative effects of the same style of leadership.

Because of the nature of the approach, the leaders are compelled to play a background role. Hence, this style is also known as a hands-off or coaching style. It allows the leader to focus on the big picture and let the team run the tasks without direct supervision. Often, delegative leaders trust the employees to carry on without much control. 

The weakness in such situations is that, without a direct leader, employees can run amok with arbitrary decisions. In such a scenario, belated corrective action can produce negative results for the overall goal. If the result goes sore from a bad decision or action by a subordinate, the leader has to bear the responsibility. This is one of the reasons why some leaders are hesitant to delegate.

Lacking concern for cohesiveness is another significant disadvantage in delegative leadership. The glue that ties a team together is cohesion. If the leader is not concerned about team cohesion, it will be difficult to keep the team’s ability to work together intact.

What’s more, focusing on coherence and how to build an environment where people may grow and prosper is critical. Employees will not deliver the required results otherwise.

Delegative leadership also has the disadvantage of avoiding responsibilities. In actuality, the leader does not assume responsibility for certain tasks and expects the subordinates to accurately complete the tasks on their own. This type of leadership, however, is not without its drawbacks.

After assigning duties, it is the sole responsibility of the leader to follow up until the task is completed. Therefore, leaders must constantly be aware of the freedom they enjoy by delegating and must ensure that the freedom extended to the workers is not misused.

Delegation entails more than assigning duties to other team members. Effective leaders think carefully about what to delegate and to whom, and they understand how delegation benefits their team. Leadership development is an excellent way to teach executives how to use delegation to boost productivity, empower staff, and develop skills.

The responsibility of a leader is to manage the performance of the team. The leader must communicate what he or she wants them to do and then guide them to that goal. This does, however, imply that the leader knows how to assign tasks to make the most of their time at work. A leader who is not afraid to delegate can get things done faster and help the company’s objectives.