Task delegation is a relatively new concept in the business and management world. It’s a unique strategy used to further engage and empower employees with their work. However, many still don’t fully understand how this management style works and how it can benefit their businesses in the long run. With that, here’s a deeper look at delegative leadership and task delegation.
Delegative Leadership and Task Delegation
Delegative leadership is a unique management style that focuses on delegating tasks to team members. Also referred to as the Laissez-faire leadership style, this type of leadership puts the leader at the backseat of team projects and initiatives through task delegation.
The goal is to empower employees and promote growth, resiliency, and individuality. It also aims to create a positive and healthy work environment by providing flexibility and ownership of one’s work.
However, effective task delegation is only feasible through certain criteria. First, the team members should be competent. Ideally, they should be in a position to be considered experts in their respective fields. This could be achieved either through extensive knowledge or experience.
Task delegation is more than just giving out assignments and projects to team members. One of the primary elements of delegative leadership is providing employees with autonomy. This refers to the employee’s utmost control over their tasks, including decision-making.
Here’s a quick run down of the primary elements of a delegative leadership:
- Leaders are hands-off with the team’s projects and initiatives.
- Leaders provide support through training, advice, and guidance but only when asked.
- Decision-making lies solely on the team member.
- Leaders shoulder the accountability for the team’s mistakes and failures.
- Delegative Leaders and Their Strategies
Delegative Leaders and Their Strategies
A delegative leadership is quite different from the traditional way of business management. This style of leadership removes one critical aspect of team management – supervision.
This is one of the reasons why some may be confused about how to adopt a delegative style of leadership in the workplace. Some of the frequently asked questions about this leadership style are:
- How do you manage a team without regularly checking progress?
- How do you ensure that work is done properly?
- How do you know which tasks to delegate?
- Is task delegation good for business?
With that, here are some real-life examples of delegative leaders and their proven strategies.
Andrew Mellon is an example of someone who successfully implemented a delegative style of leadership. He is a US businessman and industrialist with a conglomerate of companies.
But instead of leading each company by himself, Mellon left business operations to managers. By delegating business operations to expert managers, Andrew Mellon was able to grow his fortune even more.
Warren Buffet’s business strategy sets an example of how entrepreneurs can practice a delegative style of leadership when handling different companies. Buffet is a world-recognized leader and one of the world’s most successful investors.
He owns Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate holdings company operating globally. His business ventures allowed him to own significant portions of multinational companies. This includes the likes of Apple, Coca-Cola, Dairy Queen, and more.
As a delegative leader, Warren Buffet urged his employees to take pride in their actions. He also wanted them to assume responsibility for their decisions. Warren Buffet shies away from an authoritarian style of management. Instead, he prefers to see himself more as a guide and mentor.
Even though he owns a part of numerous global companies, Buffet avoids meddling with business decisions. Instead, he trusts the leaders of each company to handle all the decision-making. Despite being a stakeholder, he believes that decisions best lie in the hands of the people who know the company the best.
Robert Noyce is recognized as one of the founders of the tech giant Intel. At the start of the company, Noyce implemented a delegative style of leadership that offered autonomy and individuality. It also practiced a hands-off type of management, drawing highly-skilled and top-notch team members. Andrew Grove and Gordon Moore, authors of Moore’s Law, grew under the leadership and mentorship of Robert Noyce while they were working at Intel.
Benefits of Delegating Tasks
Delegating tasks can have positive effects on your business. When implemented correctly, a delegative style of leadership significantly benefits the employees and the team leader as well. To give you a better idea, here are some of the notable benefits of task delegation:
Encourage innovative and creative thinking
Task delegation is best applied in circumstances where members are considered experts in their field. While there is no need for the individual to have an actual title as an expert, they must be well-versed in their field. Ideally, they should have several years doing what they do. When put in a position to handle initiatives on their own, employees have the freedom to create their routines or processes to accomplish their work. This may include innovative and creative ways that allow them to work efficiently.
Spur growth and development
Since delegative leaders take a step back, employees are put in a position to handle everything on their own. This allows the employee to focus solely on their task. Doing so provides them a chance to showcase their knowledge and skills and develop these along the way at the same time.
Promote quick decision making
Have you ever worked on a project that stalled because you were waiting for the feedback or decision of the big bosses? Waiting for approval from the higher-ups can be frustrating, especially if it pushes back your project behind schedule. Under a delegative style of management, employees have the autonomy and authority to make decisions concerning their initiatives. Thus, it removes unnecessary bureaucracy and avoids micromanagement.
Aside from these employee-centered advantages, delegative leadership also has benefits for the leaders. One of which is that it allows leaders to focus on higher-level duties. Instead of micromanaging every team member, there is minimal need for the leader to check up on their employee’s progress ever so often.
Another advantage of task delegation is that it nurtures trust between the leader and the team members. In addition, it promotes better and more efficient communication between two parties. Task delegation is also believed to boost employee satisfaction and motivation, leading to increased productivity.
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