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What is Delegation in the Workplace?

When working as a team, doing work on our own is very easy. If we know what needs to be done, and if we are aware of the process, it is very easy for us to slice and dice the work, plan as per our comfort and complete the work. But, is it the same while delegating work to others, and what about when you have to delegate work as a manager?

What does Delegation mean?

Delegating work is one of the important attributes a manager should possess. How good you are at work, after a certain limit you cannot work at all tasks. As you get more and more work, effective ways of delegation and managing work will define your talent. Not just assigning any work to anyone, but rightly doing it by considering all responsibilities, resources, deadlines, and budgets.

Even though delegation is very important, many managers are not able to assign work properly. On one side, there are careless managers who don’t bother what is going on in the projects and simply leave everything on their juniors. On the other side, there are managers who doubt the capabilities of team members and don’t prefer to give work to their juniors. As a result, the overall work quality hampers.

How does the "Delegation of Task" work?

Understanding the importance of delegation, one should remember that the aim is to reduce the effort and burden on one. Besides, others also learn more about the work and hence can forward their knowledge. In fact, the chances of getting quality work increases when more brains are involved. The graph below describes the relationship between

'Delegation Vs Effort'

Let us look at the process of Delegation and Effort through this graph-


In this phase, you are working alone. It is a case when all tasks are done by you.


In this phase, you are working on the tasks. You simultaneously provide basic training and knowledge about the information required to accomplish the task. The junior shares a minimum chunk of work from you. Your effort here generally is more than working individually, as you have to put more effort in training the other person and correcting the junior’s work too. Fearing this extra effort or the wrath faced because of mistakes done, many managers don’t move beyond this phase. They may not overlook the mistakes of their juniors and so keep on micromanaging the work or doing it themselves. As a result, the team gets stuck at this phase, overall affecting the growth.


Depending on the junior’s learning capabilities, your effort varies. While a talented junior can accomplish tasks with minimum errors, others could do major mistakes that require re-works at multiple stages. Sometimes, you could even repeat the work, even though your junior has done all the work. In this phase, your quality checkpoints and on-job training should be able to help the junior understand the nuances of work, ultimately making him capable of working independently.


This is the phase where the junior must have already become qualified to work on the tasks independently. Based on the individual’s talent, the junior would become independent in certain portions of work or the entire work allocated. There could be some additional effort required by you, but it is the time you build confidence in your team members. As the junior becomes qualified, you should be able to be more confident, and trust his capabilities. You should be able to differentiate what is perfectly delivered by the junior and what needs to be fine-tuned. This way, even a perfectionist manager can avoid micro-managing. Slowly, the juniors become capable of working independently alleviating the burden on you. Further, it also improves the overall capabilities of the team and gives you the much-needed freedom to work on new things.

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