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Home » Leadership

The delegation of power at work

Submitted by on Thursday, 27 September 2012One Comment

One of the skills of the effective manager is knowing how to delegate power at work. The effective delegation of power is essential for morale, empowerment and employee engagement.

Here’s an easy 6 step model for getting that task delegation ‘just right’:

Delegation of power at work – the 6 step model

1. ‘Do as I say, or wait and be told’ – this is the no-delegation-at-all approach, or the style of the micro-manager. This is authoritarian leadership which this global survey found was a huge turn off among employees and an empowerment killer! Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid this style of delegation if you can, and use only in absolute emergency.

2. ‘Look into this and tell me what you come up with’ – here you ask your direct report for investigation and analysis and the presentation of findings without making any recommendations.

the delegation of power at work

3. ‘Give me your advice, and I’ll decide.’ – Here you ask for analysis and recommendations, but you check the thinking before deciding.

4. ‘Explore, decide, and let me know your decision. But wait for my go ahead.’ – Here you are trusting your direct report to judge the various options, but (s)he needs your approval before taking action.

5. ‘Decide and let me know your decision within these limits, parameters or scope.’ – Here you give much more autonomy, but set a scope or parameters outside of which your direct report needs to come back to you for guidance.

6. ‘Decide and take action, but let me know what you did / don’t let me know what you did.’ – This is the greatest form of autonomy and empowerment.  Here you are empowering your direct report to go ahead as he or she sees fit, with an optional follow-up report. The downside of this approach if it is ‘default’ is undermanagement and a lack of role clarity.

If this was helpful…

…then you’ll love this. It’s Okay to be the Boss is a hands-on one day training programme for managers who would like to sharpen up their supervisory and people management skills. The programme details are here. Or feel free to contact us for a full pdf here.


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