Three Levels of Delegation for Team Leaders

Three Levels of Delegation for Team Leaders

Many team leaders feel that by giving tasks to other members of the team, they are giving their power away. This simply isn’t true! Delegation is one of the most valuable skills you will ever learn. By delegating the tasks that you don’t really need to do, you free up time for those high-reward projects.

Even better, delegating doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In this blog, we will learn about the degrees of delegation and when to use each of them.

Level One: Complete Supervision

The first level of delegation is complete supervision. This gives the team members the least independence, but it gives you the most control.

Although this level of delegation should not be used often, it can be used in situations such as these:

  • The task is dangerous and the team member is not familiar with it.
  • The task has important organizational, financial, or legal implications. For example, if a team member is preparing a year-end report for the first time, you will probably want to supervise the process and carefully examine the results.

Level Two: Partial Supervision

The second level of delegation is a good balance between team member freedom and team leader supervision. With this level, the team member does the task on their own, but the team leader monitors the work, evaluates progress, and keeps a close eye on how things are moving along.

This is the most commonly used level of delegation, and is the one that you will use for most tasks. However, to maximize your delegating potential, try to encourage team members to grow and develop by adding more levels of complexity as they become more comfortable with the task.

For example, let’s say that you have been delegating the weekly team status report to the team’s most senior person. After the report is submitted, you type the report using your organization’s template. Once the delegate has become comfortable with creating the report, the next step could be to use the template themselves, cutting out one step for you, and moving them further along the journey to independence.

Level Three: Complete Independence

The last level of delegation is the one that we should hope to move towards for most tasks. Here, the team member does the task completely on their own.

However, spot-checks and progress updates are important. Continuing with the example of the progress report, let’s say that the final step is to post the report on the departmental Intranet. The delegate may want to CC you when they post the report so that you can read it, and so that you know it has been submitted.

Think very carefully when choosing a level of delegation. Too low, and the team member may feel distrusted and smothered. Too high, and you may find a disaster on your hands.

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