Management is all about achieving objectives through others. Successful leaders have learned the art of delegation.
Rule number one is that delegation without definition is abandonment not delegation. Delegation is serious business. The five-paragraph military order is a useful example of providing instructions when handing off responsibility for a project or functional area of an organization:
- Situation: What is the situation or current state?
- Mission: What is the Mission or Goal and why?
- Execution: Guidelines, Strategies and tactics, Limitations and Policies
- Administration/Logistics: Supporting resources and required coordination
- Command: Reporting order and reporting expectations
The second rule is to decide what part of the organizational pie you should not delegate. This rule harkens back to Management Candy, M &M’s. You should retain responsibility for the main thing(s) your organization’s success depends on. That does not mean that you should not delegate the effort related to task, program, and projects, but the responsibility and accountability for the main thing(s) remain with the leader. As an example, take the relationship between the captain of an aircraft and the copilot. A captain can not delegate the responsibility for a safe landing of the plane. He or she can delegate the task of landing the plane under his direct supervision but getting that plane on the ground is the captain’s responsibility and it cannot be handed off.
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