When a manager in an organization divides his work among his subordinates to accomplish a big task, he divides the task into smaller tasks and bestows the authority as well as the responsibility on the subordinates.
The subordinates have authority to make decisions about the task that they are responsible for accomplishing so that task can be completed on time.
Meaning of delegation of authority
We all have practiced or participated in the delegation of authority at one point or another point in life. The coordination between the bride and the bride’s maid is a perfect example of the delegation of authority.
There are several tasks that a woman to be married is supposed to do to make her wedding day perfect. But she can’t do all the work on her on own.
Therefore, she divides her work among her friends and also gives them the authority and responsibility to accomplish these tasks and to obtain desired results on time.
Similarly, the manager divides his work among lower-level employees or his subordinates. His subordinates can then take decisions on his behalf. The delegation of authority works from a higher level to lower level and not vice versa.
That means a boss can assign his work to his employees, but the employees can’t give their work to their boss. The boss supervises his employees while they perform their duties bestowed on them.
Therefore, we can say that employees don’t have 100% freedom to perform their duties. The manager can question the subordinates about the decisions they made, and they should consider the consequences too.
In the delegation of authority, four steps are being followed. In the first step, the task is assigned to subordinates, and the clear jobs are defined to be performed by each employee.
The jobs are assigned to employees on the basis of their skills and experience, and the manager makes sure that a single employee does not get overburden by the work.
The second step is the delegation of decision-making authority. In this step, after getting the task to perform, the subordinates are required to acquire the resources.
The employees must be clearly defined the work assigned to them, or it would be better if the work assign to them is given in written form so that they can perform their duties without needed to explaining to everyone and the work that subordinates can’t perform should be performed by the superiors.
The third step in the process of delegation of authority is the creation of obligation. In this step, obligations are created so that subordinates perform their duties with dedication. It is made sure that the person is morally responsible for completing the task that they have accepted.
The subordinate can make his subordinates to perform the task, but the responsibility lies on his shoulders, and he is responsible for the timely completion of the task assigned to him.
And the last step in the process of delegation of authority is the creation of accountability. The accountability is to take full responsibility for the consequences of your actions. The person makes a promise to his subordinates that he will perform the duty on time and effectively.
To make a successful delegation of authority, one should follow the following principles:
- The duty must be defined with functional clarity.
- The subordinate should not be commanded by more than one subordinate.
- Making sure that responsibility and authority are interconnected and clearly defined the subordinates before assigning work to them.
- Even though superior can delegate the work to his subordinates but still he is responsible for the work. Therefore, we can say that responsibility can’t be delegated. However, superior has the right to supervise his subordinate while he performs his task and provide guidance to him.
- There should be clear communication between the superiors and subordinates. A task should be discussed thoroughly with subordinates before being assigned to them.
- tasks should only be assigned to subordinates who have the skills to perform this task. Otherwise, the manager should perform that task on his own.
- Limits to the authority given to subordinates should be clearly mentioned.
Examples of Delegation of Authority
It is difficult for a manager to perform research on his own. Therefore, he divides this task into the smaller task and assigns those tasks to his subordinates with similar skill sets.
For example, he will assign the task to prepare a survey for the person who is good with computers. And the task of scheduling face-to-face interviews will be assigned to the person who is good at socializing.
The subordinates will perform their task and report to their manager after their task is complete.
The manager can also provide them a deadline so that they complete the task fast, and he can sufficient time to make changes in the task performed or to re-perform the task.
From the above example, it is clear that the delegation of authority is important for effective management. The process of delegation of authority gets the best talent on the job as a task is distributed on the basis of the skills set of a subordinate.
By dividing the task into the smaller task and assigning them to subordinates the time can be saved as tasks get completed parallelly