As we’ve seen in our discussion so far, poor or improper delegation of authority can result in confusion and indecision on the part of subordinates. The end result can be a breakdown in the whole system of management. Therefore, a few words of caution are in order at this point: Delegation has a potential for management failure! However, the risk of failure is also present whenever managers plan, organize, motivate, and control. So, in this sense, delegation is simply one of several high-risk activities in any management system.
To overcome weaknesses in delegation, the following guides can be used:
Define assignments and delegate authority specifically in the light of results expected. For example, a production manager has a specific area of responsibility, and has been given the necessary authority to accomplish the production goals.
Select the best subordinate in light of the job to be done. This is primarily the managerial responsibility of selecting employees. In terms of delegation, however, it’s necessary to consider, because the amount of discretion given to a subordinate depends to a large degree on the subordinate’s personal qualifications.
Maintain open lines of communication. When a superior delegates authority to a subordinate, it doesn’t mean that communication should cease between them. It’s in the nature of business to be flexible. Because of this, it’s important to continually review delegated authority in light of any changes that affect the organization. Lack of communication can leave both the superior and subordinate in a state of confusion.
Establish proper controls. Even though a superior has delegated authority to a subordinate, he or she is still ultimately responsible for the subordinate’s activity. In order to ensure understanding the superior should use a technique such as a weekly performance report to keep track of the department’s activities. The technique used, however, shouldn’t hinder the actions of the subordinates
Use rewards. If subordinates have effectively used the authority delegated to them, they should be justly rewarded. Many times, this reward is financial, but it also can be in the form of additional authority in the present position, or a promotion with greater responsibility.
Use of these guidelines can help overcome many of the weaknesses that exist in the delegation of authority. Proper delegation of authority will allow the enterprise to grow and function. If it isn’t done properly, poor management is the result.
It’s important for managers to understand these basic concepts in order to be effective managers. As you proceed, you’ll study other important management concepts, but none is more important than the concept of leadership. This quality in managers is so encompassing that many people consider it to be the essence of management.
Source: Industrial Management Course