Many supervisors feel that by giving tasks to others, they’re giving their power away. This simply isn’t true! Delegation is one of the most valuable skills you will ever learn. By delegating the tasks that you don’t really need to do, you free up time for those high-reward projects.
Even better, delegating doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In this post, we will learn about the degrees of delegation and when to use each of them.
Level One: Complete Supervision
The first level of delegation is complete supervision. This gives the employee the least independence, but it gives you the most control.
Although this level of delegation should not be used often, it can be used in situations such as these:
The task is dangerous and the employee is not familiar with it.
The task has important organizational, financial, or legal implications. For example, if an employee is preparing a year-end report for the first time, you will probably want to supervise the process and carefully examine the results.
Level Two: Partial Supervision
The second level of delegation is a good balance between employee freedom and manager supervision. With this level, the employee does the task on their own, but the supervisor monitors the work, evaluates progress, and keeps a close eye on how things are moving along.
This is the most commonly used level of delegation, and is the one that you will use for most tasks. However, to maximize your delegating potential, try to encourage employees to grow and develop by adding more levels of complexity as they become more comfortable with the task.
For example, let’s say that you have been delegating the weekly team status report to the team’s most senior person. After the report is submitted, you type the report using your organization’s template. Once the delegate has become comfortable with creating the report, the next step could be to use the template themselves, cutting out one step for you, and moving them further along the journey to independence.
Level Three: Complete Independence
The last level of delegation is the one that we should hope to move towards for most tasks. Here, the employee does the task completely on their own.
However, spot-checks and progress updates are important. Continuing with the example of the progress report, let’s say that the final step is to post the report on the departmental Intranet. The delegate may want to CC you when they post the report so that you can read it, and so that you know it has been submitted.
Think very carefully when choosing a level of delegation. Too low, and the employee may feel distrusted and smothered. Too high, and you may find a disaster on your hands.