How Delegation Empowers Teams & Drives High Performance

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to go over the many ways by which delegation empowers teams. You'll learn about some strategies that leaders can use to empower employees and boost team performance.

What is Delegation?

Do you like it when you feel empowered or when you feel powerless? The answer here is pretty obvious. So why wouldn't you want your team members to feel empowered? In this lesson, we go over how you can use delegation to empower your team.

Delegation refers to a process where a (commonly) senior individual who is ultimately responsible for a task entrusts one or more responsibilities for that task with another individual.

The Impact of Delegation on Team Performance

Delegation impacts team performance in two major ways. First of all, it improves the entire team's efficiency, or their ability to be as productive as possible with minimal expense (be it with respect to effort, time, finances, etc).

But why is this the case? Why is delegation tied to efficiency? Well, it's because delegation allows you to match a need to an expert. This means you are then free to focus on less routine or more appropriate tasks to your skill set. As a team leader, this could mean something like figuring out what the next step in your project needs to be and how it's going to be accomplished.

The second major way delegation impacts team performance is through development. In other words, by giving people tasks that you would otherwise bear the brunt of, you are giving them the ability to develop their skill set. Consequently, team performance will improve, since your team is now prepared to deal with a wider set of challenges as a result of a better-developed skill set.

As you can understand, this is important for results. If you delegate a task to the right person, they are more likely develop the right skill set and get things done right, right on time.

How Delegation Empowers

In addition to improved efficiency and overall team development, delegation can be empowering for team members. How so? Well, when you give someone a responsibility you would otherwise take care of, you:

1. Show your team you trust them with important things you have to get done; this leaves you somewhat vulnerable and them in a more empowered position.

2. Allow your team members to manage themselves.

3. Increase their accountabilities, just like a person in a position of power.

4. Encourage the team to become experts in a way that might surpass your skill set, empowering their value and marketability in the process.

All of the above can promote a desire to take an interest in their own self-development and, as a result, in the entire team's success, since the latter depends on the former.

Strategies

So, how can you, as a manager or supervisor, empower your team members through delegation?

Pick the Right People

When you delegate, you need to ensure that the person you are delegating to has the skill set to, at a minimum, learn what they need in order to succeed. Sometimes, you'll delegate to a person who can clearly take on the challenge, an expert. Other times, you might delegate to someone who can't do it right off of the bat but will take on the challenge and improve their skill set in the process. This will be empowering.

You have to avoid delegating to someone who is neither an expert nor has the skills to become one for the task at hand. This is because the person will fail to complete the task, and this, clearly, will be deflating, not empowering.

Spread the Delegated Tasks Around

Now, you might think: why not just give all the tasks to the experts? First, if you don't allow others to develop through delegation, you won't empower your team. Second, the experts, your star employees, will start to feel resentment as well. They won't feel all that empowered when they are always the ones carrying the entire workload.

Don't Overburden

Similar to the last point, don't over-delegate. If you give someone, even the right person, too much to do, they'll stress out. And when someone is stressed out, they aren't able to learn or develop a skill set as well, nor work as efficiently. In other words, not only will you not empower someone, but by delegating too much to one person, you might actually decrease efficiency and development.

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