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The Entrepreneurs Chronicles: The Art of Delegation


  Art of Delegation. Credit:

Success is all about teamwork and delegation is without a doubt a requirement for success. Delegation of authority is a process whereby the authority and powers are divided and shared amongst the subordinates. Delegation means the assignment of certain responsibilities along with the necessary authority by a superior to his/her subordinate managers. Delegation is an important managerial process and it must be handled properly.

The entrepreneur is often the sole employee of his own business in the early days of a venture. However, with diligence and proper planning the business grows. With the resulting growth, some tasks have to be delegated; full and part-time staff are now the picture as a result of expansion. Delegation of authority is one vital organizational process. It is the art of understanding what you must do and what you can assign. Delegation is not a process of abandonment, the person who delegates does not dissociate himself from the task and authority with which he/she is entrusted. Delegation is all about working smarter.

Delegation of authority is the platform on which the superior-subordinate relationship stands. An organization functions as the authority flows from top level to bottom, like a pyramid. This helps in both horizontal and vertical growth, and it creates stability. A successful manager is one who is able to determine the ‘5W’s of delegation – What, When, Whom, Why, Where.


What – Explain the benefits of the delegation to the organization. Clearly define the expected result desired and timing of the accomplishment, including any absolute requirements, tools, status reports, personnel involvement, etc. Choose what is most appropriate for any given situation. What type of tasks will the team or organization find interesting or meaningful? What type of task will utilize the talents of the team or organization?

When – In delegation both timing and consistency are critical. The duration of the job, when the job should start and finish, must be established. Set goals, decide dates for agreed deadlines and review dates. How will the task be measured? When is a convenient time for the team or organization? What would be a reasonable amount of time for the team or organization to spend on a delegated task?

Who – Choose someone who is trained to do the job and has been successful at it in the past. The delegator must be confident in the delegate’s ability to accomplish. The delegate must be capable and willing to do the work properly.

Why – Establish the importance of delegating such task and why you should choose the specific person or people. Why the job needs to be done and how this will help the client, the company or the team.

Where – Consider people, location, premises and related activities and services. Where should we hold the event? Is the location practical? Is the location convenient, safe, and cost-efficient? Where does it fit in with the overall scheme of things?

The 5W’s (What, When, Whom, Why, Where) are key factors in delegation, and delegation is a win- win situation for both individuals and organizations when done appropriately.


Delegation can be broken down into four steps; assignment of duties to subordinates, granting of authority to enable the subordinates to perform the assigned duties, acceptance of assignment, and creation of obligation on the part of subordinate to perform duties in a professional manner

  • Assignment of duties to subordinate: Before delegating, the delegator has to decide the specific duties which are to be delegated to the subordinate or group of subordinates. The authority is delegated accordingly and the subordinate is told what is expected of him. The usual practice is to list the functions to be performed by the subordinate.
  • Transfer of authority to perform the duty: The authority to handle the duties is granted by the delegator to his subordinate (delegate). Delegate must be sternly instructed on how to handle the assigned duty.
  • Acceptance of the assignment: The subordinate/delegate has to accept or reject the task assigned to him in the first stage along with the authority given in the second stage.
  • Accountability /Creation of Obligation: Delegation of authority is the creation of obligation on the part of the subordinate to perform duties assigned to him in an adequate manner by using the authority given. When subordinate accepts a task and the authority is given, an obligation is created.

An optimally functioning company will use delegation on both an individual and an organizational level. As such, it is essential for an organization to master delegation techniques. Delegation process not only allows for the personal development of others, but also facilitates your own development. Granting powers and getting the work done helps the manager develop his communication, supervision, guidance, motivation and leadership traits.

Job satisfaction is an important criterion to bring stability and soundness in the relationship between superior and subordinates. Delegation will only move smoothly if the techniques and processes are adhered to and put into practice.

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