Task delegation is the practice of assigning or transferring responsibilities to a co-worker or team member. It is a strategy that managers and leaders often use to lighten their workload.
It is an essential element of the laizzes faire leadership. Also referred to as delegative leadership, this method uses effective task delegation practices to encourage employee growth, boost productivity, and increase employee motivation.
Delegative leadership is a hands-off management approach where leaders give their employees significant autonomy and authority over their assigned tasks. Under this style of leadership, leaders or managers provide minimal supervision, guidance, or direction.
Instead, they allow their employees to take over decision-making and problem-solving duties involved in their assigned tasks. Leaders allow their team members to work independently and intervene only when deemed necessary.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Delegation
Effectively delegating tasks under a laizzes faire leadership style allows employees to take ownership of their work. However, a closer look will show a list of possible advantages and disadvantages to this approach.
To give you a better understanding, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of a delegative leadership style in the workplace.
Benefits of Delegative Leadership
Encourages employee growth
An important element of effective delegation and laizzes faire leadership is providing employees with the autonomy to do their work. This method allows employees to take the point and handle everything on their own, with little to no input, guidance, or supervision from their team leader.
Under this circumstance, employees are able to step up and grow as professionals. They can showcase their abilities and sharpen their skills to achieve what is expected from them.
Increases employee motivation and satisfaction
Delegative leadership puts employees in a powerful position. It allows them to take ownership of their work and put their knowledge, skills, and experience into action. Their autonomy and responsibility also push them to work effectively and efficiently to receive good credit for a well-done job.
Considering this, task delegation and delegative leadership can increase employee motivation and satisfaction as they enjoy greater accomplishment over their assigned tasks.
Avoids the dangers of micromanagement
There are mixed opinions about micromanagement. Some employees thrive under constant observation and supervision, while others struggle with it. Regardless, there are risks that come with micromanagement that affect both the employees and the leader.
One of the dangers of micromanagement is the loss of trust between employees and the team leader. There is also the possibility of fostering dependent employees who are incapable or simply afraid of doing tasks independently. Micromanagement also cripples employees’ creativity, innovation, and growth.
The delegative style of leadership rids employees of regular checkups, update requests, follow-ups, and the like. As a business owner, you want to foster a culture of trust with the people you work with. This will also give you more time to work on your duties and promote healthy and reliable work relationships with your employees.
Stimulates creativity and innovation
Task delegation provides employees with the utmost autonomy and authority over their work. This means that they also have the power to make significant and course-altering decisions. Considering this, a delegative approach encourages employees to be creative and innovative when thinking of ways to solve problems or improve their work.
Drawbacks of Delegative Leadership
Loss of direction
One of the biggest risks of a delegative style of leadership is the possibility of employees losing track of their goals and objectives.
Given that delegative leadership limits supervision and guidance, employees can easily stray from the expected outcome of their assignments. Adding to this, employees’ autonomy under this approach can lead to results different from what is expected.
Risks of poor and miscommunication
In addition to delegative leadership’s lack of supervision and guidance, there is also the possibility of poor or miscommunication. A poor implementation of the delegation process can put employees at a disadvantage with insufficient information or understanding of their assigned tasks.
Lack of feedback and support
Task delegation and a delegative leadership style put employees in the front seat. This allows them to take control and enjoy utmost autonomy over their tasks with little to no supervision, guidance, or feedback from the team leader.
While this can be beneficial for some, the lack of feedback and guidance can also place employees at a disadvantage. This setup can make employees feel neglected, abandoned, or unsupported. It can also bring employees down as they don’t receive the necessary feedback or push to improve their performance at work.
5 Principles of Effective Task Delegation
Understanding the principles of effective task delegation is crucial to avoid its risks and drawbacks. With proper preparation, delegative leadership can encourage employee growth, stimulate creative thinking and innovation, and prevent micromanaging. Here is a brief run-through of the five basic principles of effective task delegation.
The first step in the delegation process is identifying the tasks you want to assign or hand off to your employee. It is important to understand that some tasks may not be appropriate to delegate to an employee or subordinate.
Duties such as performance reviews or conflict resolution are best handled by the leader and should not be delegated to a team member for the sake of efficiency. The right task to be delegated should be within the employees’ capabilities based on their skills, knowledge, and experience.
When delegating tasks, it is also important to consider the position or circumstance that your employees are in. Is the employee’s workload light enough to handle additional tasks? Will there be enough time before the deadline? Don’t set your employees up for failure, and ensure that the circumstances are right for them to deliver the task requirements accordingly.
Identifying the right person for the task at hand is another essential part of the delegation process. At this step, it is crucial for the leader to have a great understanding of their team members’ capabilities.
Aside from their knowledge, skills, and experience, knowing the employee’s strengths and weaknesses will allow you to determine if they are fit for the job or not. Behavior, personality, and character should play an equally important role when determining the right person for an important task.
Before completely handing off a task or project, it is important for the leader and the employee to understand the demand and expectations of the task at hand. The leader should take the time to explain what needs to be done clearly, and the employee should be comfortable and confident enough to raise questions or concerns.
Not completing this step can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunication, and a complete loss of direction, leading to poor performance or outcome.
While the laissez-faire leadership style rids constant supervision, it doesn’t completely rid the leader of the responsibility to guide the employee throughout their endeavor. It is essential for the leader to provide and offer the right amount of guidance and supervision that will keep the employee on the right path while also maintaining the employee’s autonomy over their work.
Task delegation is a common practice in the business industry. Business owners and leaders must delegate tasks to employees to save time and increase productivity. However, good leaders learn how to delegate tasks effectively and reap the benefits of such a management approach.
A laissez-faire leadership style can highly motivate employees, increase productivity, and encourage growth and innovation when implemented properly. However, a poor understanding of the basic principles of task delegation and a delegative leadership style can lead to crumbling communication, discouraged employees, and poor outcomes.
Considering this, it is essential for leaders and business owners to understand how to delegate work effectively and to sharpen their delegation skills.
Want to know more about becoming an effective leader and business owner? Sidekicks is an on-demand virtual company, and we’re eager to help visionaries and entrepreneurs like you. Get a free ebook and learn more about how we can help you by signing up for our newsletter. We also offer a free 30-minute consultation if you prefer something more personal.