6 Simple Steps to Delegation of Authority in Management

delegation of authority, delegation of authority examples, importance of delegation of authority, process of delegation of authority

6 Simple Steps to Delegation of Authority in Management

Every effective leader employs delegation of authority. It involves distributing tasks to the right individuals at the right times, ensuring each task is completed as planned. This skill is essential for both new and seasoned leaders. When team leaders delegate authority, they ensure their teams work efficiently and effectively. In this article, we will explore the importance of delegating authority and the best steps to delegate.

What Does Delegation of Authority Mean?

Delegation of authority is a process where tasks and decision-making authority are assigned to a specific individual who is accountable to a leader or manager. This involves dividing a manager’s labour among employees and subordinates, ensuring they complete their responsibilities effectively.

Delegation consists of sharing the corresponding amount of duty and the associated authority, ensuring activities are accomplished efficiently and making individuals feel accountable for their responsibilities. It is not just about dividing work into smaller tasks but also giving individuals the authority to take on tasks they are most qualified for. This allows them to invest more time and effort in their work, improving their capabilities and skills. This frees up the manager to focus on more strategic or advanced duties.

The purpose of delegation of authority is as follows:

  • Efficiency: By delegating tasks, managers can focus on strategic decisions and larger projects, improving overall productivity and efficiency.
  • Empowerment: Delegation allows employees to take ownership of their work, fostering a sense of empowerment and motivation. It also encourages employees to develop their skills and take on more responsibilities.
  • Scalability: Managers can only handle some tasks as a business grows. Delegation allows for the distribution of workload and the creation of more managers, facilitating vertical and horizontal growth.
  • Quality Control: By delegating authority, managers can ensure that tasks are completed to their standards. They can also provide feedback and guidance to subordinates, improving the quality of work.

Elements of Delegation of Authority

The following are the elements of delegation of authority

#1. Authority

Authority in a company refers to an individual’s power and right to efficiently use resources, make decisions, and give orders to achieve organisational objectives. It should be well-defined, and everyone with authority knows their scope. Top-level management has the most significant authority.

A symbiotic relationship exists between authority and responsibility, with equal responsibility required for tasks to be completed successfully. Understanding these relationships can help build a legacy of leadership and ensure adequate resource allocation and decision-making.

#2. Responsibility

Responsibility is the specificity and extent of a task assigned to an individual. If that person does not have the authority to do the assignment, it can result in discontent, disagreements, and frustration.

Responsibility is delegated to middle- and lower-level management, who also carry the majority of the responsibility in the organisation. Authority is delegated to the highest level of the organisation.

#3. Accountability

Accountability is a responsibility that comes with being given responsibility for something. Everyone who works for a firm or takes on a task intending to complete it is subject to being held accountable for the results of their efforts.

Responsibility is the seed from which accountability grows. Accountability travels upward, while authority is typically delegated downward. At every level of the management hierarchy, both the downward flow of authority and the upward flow of accountability must be consistent.

Importance of Delegation of Authority

The importance of delegating authority is as follows:

  • Delegation is a crucial skill for leadership development, as it helps leaders identify the best individuals for specific tasks or projects, develop delegation skills, set clear expectations, provide support, and manage their team effectively.
  • A study by Harvard Business Review determined that delegation of authority enhances task efficiency and organizational performance by assigning specific tasks to different team members, allowing managers to concentrate on strategic tasks and decision-making rather than getting bogged down in the details of every task.
  • Delegation of authority can also lighten the workload of managers and members.
  • Delegation of authority boosts team members’ motivation and job satisfaction by granting them authority to complete tasks and fostering a sense of involvement and value in their work. It also encourages the development of new skills and knowledge, preparing them for future responsibilities. 
  • Delegation of authority also aids corporate growth by enabling managers to concentrate on strategic tasks like department creation and transferring experienced managers to higher-level positions, contributing to both vertical and horizontal growth.

How to Delegate Responsibility

There are several ways you can transfer responsibilities to employees, depending on the needs of your workplace. You can use the following types of delegation of authority to assign tasks to various team members in the workplace:

  • Departments: As the CEO of a company, you can assign the responsibility of supervising a specific department to another employee, such as the Marketing Director, to oversee the entire marketing department.
  • Projects: You can assign an employee or group of employees to complete a specific project from start to finish. With the marketing department, the marketing director could assign an advertising campaign to the project manager, who assembles a team of copywriters and designers to collaborate on the project.
  • Decision-making: Delegating decision-making authority to a worker can free up time and allow them to focus on other tasks. For example, if you’re the marketing director, you can assign the assistant director the authority to hire personnel. 
  • Analysis: To enhance knowledge, managers may request personnel to conduct extensive studies, such as asking a demand generation team member to research demographic information for the target population for a marketing project. 
  • Administrative processes: As a marketing manager, you can delegate administrative tasks like data entry to other staff members or assign social media monitoring to a marketing assistant.

The Process of Delegation of Authority

The process of delegation of authority includes the following steps:

#1. Consider the Task to be Delegated

Before initiating a formal delegation process, consider the task, delegates, and desired outcome carefully. Identify a goal and purpose for the delegated functions. While not all tasks can be delegated, such as performance reviews or personnel matters, hiring the right talent and understanding employee strengths and weaknesses can improve assigning tasks and transferring responsibility. Delegate tasks regularly tackled by coworkers or that could benefit their careers, showing trust and value for the team and allowing time for strategic projects.

#2. Discuss the Task to Be Delegated

Before delegating tasks to employees, engage them in a conversation about the task and ensure both parties agree on the task and desired outcome. This helps set expectations and state the quality of work needed.

It’s important to explain the purpose of delegation and how it will help the employee grow. Employees should have goals they’re working towards and the opportunity to delegate tasks within those goals. For example, a direct report might want to gain management experience so they could supervise an intern or execute a well-defined project.

Hence, delegating tasks to employees with specific skill sets can boost motivation and engagement, benefiting the entire business.

#3. Set Task Goals and Deadline for Completion

Delegating work to someone else requires clear context and alignment with the organization’s goals. There’s great importance to having clear objectives, timelines, and measuring accomplishments. Before starting a project, employees should know their tasks, deadlines, and metrics to measure success.

Also, a realistic deadline is crucial, especially when delegating stretch goals or new tasks. It should be stated upfront if employees need revision time to avoid different outcomes. When setting the deadline, consider how the delegated task fits into the person’s existing job responsibilities. This ensures the project is completed on time and aligns with the desired outcome.

#4. Provide Resources and Outline the Level of Authority

As a manager, you are responsible for providing the necessary training, resources, and authority to a delegated individual to complete a project. Micromanaging is not effective in enabling the individual to learn or gain new skills. Instead, focus on the desired end goal, the task’s importance, and any gaps between the outcome and their current skill set.

Clearly outline the level of authority desired for the person, which can be recommended, informed, initiated, or acted upon. If the risk associated with the task is high or the individual has little experience, ask for a recommendation, but the final decision should be made. If the risk is moderate and the individual has some experience, they will inform you before taking action. Acting independently is the only option if the risk is low or the individual has extensive experience.

#5. Build in Checkpoints or Progress Reports

To avoid micromanaging, establish a communication channel for delegating tasks, allowing the person to ask questions and provide progress updates. It is also important to monitor progress without getting in the way of the delegated person.

Regular check-ins and feedback throughout the project can help ensure the person feels comfortable asking questions and providing updates. Set checkpoints at the beginning of the project to provide support and follow-through, review work, give feedback, or even provide encouragement and coaching. This approach ensures that the person feels comfortable asking questions and providing progress updates without getting in the way.

#6. Conduct a Final Debriefing

The debriefing process involves a conversation between both parties to discuss completing an outsourced assignment. It involves a mutual inquiry where the worker evaluates their performance, asking questions like “What went well?”, “What could have been better?” and “What would you do differently if you could do it again?” The worker also shares their thoughts on their performance and the individual’s performance in delegating responsibilities. More precise inquiries, such as “Where do you think I could have been clearer?” can be helpful.

Delegation of Authority Examples

Delegation of authority examples are as follows:

Example 1: Delegation of authority to develop strategies

A creative director could delegate authority to a marketing analyst to develop and implement a strategy for a new marketing campaign, including managing a team and making financial decisions.

Example 2: The delegation of authority for business process

A marketing director who needs to hire five new marketing interns can delegate the hiring process to two senior marketing managers to save time and focus on other tasks.


Delegation of authority is a crucial aspect of management, involving the division of responsibilities, ownership, and decision-making authority among subordinates. This process increases productivity and efficiency by reducing supervision, and micromanaging, saving time and energy, and leading to a more capable team and higher performance levels.


What are the five principles of delegation of authority?

The five principles of delegation of authority are functional definition, expected result, parity of authority and responsibility, unity of command, and measurable. These principles ensure tasks are assigned effectively, responsibilities and authority are clearly defined, and a single supervisor is assigned to each subordinate.

What is the meaning of delegation in management?

Delegation is the management strategy of assigning tasks and decision-making authority to team members, allowing leaders to focus on more impactful tasks, engage team members, and gain autonomy.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Delegation?

Delegation of authority can improve productivity and workload management, but it also has disadvantages, such as poor decision-making, the potential for errors, time consumption, loss of control, and misunderstanding. To mitigate these risks, choose the right person, provide clear instructions, and closely monitor progress.


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