Planning to Delegate as a Manager

Most managerial tasks can be delegated but some cannot. When deciding which can be delegated, consider how factors such as time and quality come into play.

Tasks that cannot be delegated fall into three categories:

  • critical tasks – tasks that you and your superiors consider vital should not be delegated
  • management-specific tasks – these include personnel and pay matters such as hiring, disciplining, evaluating, promoting, and terminating employees
  • tasks involving confidential information – many managerial tasks involve sensitive or confidential information, so it would be inappropriate to delegate them to non-managers

Choosing the person to delegate to

After deciding on the task to be delegated, you must select the right person to delegate a task to. This is primarily a matter of analyzing three factors: skills, motivation, and workload:

  • skills – Choose someone who either has the necessary skills and experience to get the job done or who is capable of learning the necessary skills in time to complete the task.
  • motivation – Delegate to someone who is motivated to complete the task, either out of a desire to help or because of interest in the job itself.
  • workload – Delegate to someone who has the time. Delegating can be counterproductive when a person's current workload won't allow success.

Deciding on the information needed

The appropriate amount of information is easily defined. Provide enough information for the individual to successfully complete the job to your satisfaction. As a rule you should always include information on:

  • nature of the task – provide a brief overview of what needs to be done and why
  • standards – be clear about the results you expect and standards the work must meet
  • constraints – let the person know about any limits on authority and resources, as well as the milestones and deadlines for completion