Delegation Levels: How Much Freedom Do You Give Your Staff?

May 3, 2016

An important task of any manager is knowing how to delegate.

Delegating is the process of dividing up work tasks, and instructing less senior employees to do their share of the work.

Every boss delegates differently; some retain all the control, and run a dictatorship where all the decisions are made at the top with no employee input.

Other employers are more democratic, working together with their employees to make the best decisions for the overall team.

And there are those in between, who make the important decisions, but involve staff in less serious ones.

There are different delegation styles, which range from no employee freedom (Level 1) to total employee freedom (Level 10). They are:

Delegation Levels

  1. This type of work environment is like a classroom, where the boss instructs staff on what needs to be done, and how it should be done.
  2. This type of employer-employee relationship involves asking the staff to provide options on a certain scenario, with the boss makes the ultimate decision.
  3. In this situation, the employee him or herself provides options for handling a certain task given by the manager, and the boss and the employee decide on the right outcome together.
  4. Here, the employee is involved in figuring out what tasks need to be done, and the boss and the staff figure out the right way to accomplish them together.
  5. This type of delegation involves having the employee analyse the issue, and provide recommendations on how to solve it.
  6. In this delegation preference, the employee ultimately makes the decision themselves, but the boss still wants to have final say.
  7. The boss gives the employee the power to make the decision, and they are typically allowed to proceed with it, unless the boss decides that it’s not appropriate.
  8. This delegation style allows the staff to make the final decision without the employer’s input, and only asks for a report to the boss after the fact.
  9. The manager allows the employee to make their own decisions without checking with them, and doesn’t require feedback every time a decision has been made.
  10. This is the ultimate level of employee freedom, where they are responsible for making decisions, and answering for their choices should anything go wrong.

Although it’s important to know how to delegate tasks to staff to lighten your own workload and also to empower employees to be self-motivated and own their projects, not every organisation can offer the level 10 delegation style.

Typically, bosses range somewhere in the middle, with involving their staff in the decision making, but maintaining final approval.

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