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For delegation to be successful it is vital to havean effective and responsive system of controls. Use them to monitor delegates and the progress of the assignments.

Working With Controls

A good monitoring system consists of a rein and tight hand. You can always exercise control if you feel it is necessary, but you should do so with tact and sensitivity. This is especially the case if your delegate is inexperienced.

Effective Supervision

The level of experience of your delegate will help you to decide whether to adopt a hands-on or hands-off approach when controlling a delegated assignment. A person with a considerable amount of experience at handling similar tasks will require less supervision and control than someone with little or no experience. But remember that the learning process has to begin somewhere, and inexperience can be overcome by good leadership. The monitoring process provides an opportunity for you to assess and extend any delegate’s abilities and to supply specific skills training.

Do encourage all delegates all delegates to make their own decisions.Don’t say or hint that you doubt the delegate’s ability.
Do move from hands-on to hands-off as soon as possible.Don’t miss any stage in the briefing process.
Do intervene when absolutely necessary.Don’t surreptitiously take back a task.
Do ask delegates if they feel thoroughly prepared for the task.Don’t deny a delegate the chance to learn by interfering too much.


Guiding a New Delegate

Assigning a task to a first-time delegate requires careful briefing and close supervision during the early stages. Help to build confidence by focusing on, and praising good work. If an error is made, show how it could have been avoided, but try not to dwell on mistakes. You may ask an experienced colleague to help you oversee the delegate at the start of the assignment.

Avoiding Interference

Managers who can maintain a distance between themselves and their delegates are more likely to see positive results. Nobody will work in exactly the same way as you, so resist the temptation to intervene the moment you suspect the task is not being performed your way. Instead set up a system of regular checks, meetings, and reports, either formal or informal, to ensure that the task objectives are being met.

Heavy intervention, in which the delegator makes all the decisions, will frustrate the delegate and deny him or her the chance to gain experience. It will also save very little of the delegator’s time.

Eliminating Stages

You can markedly reduce the amount of time spent spent reviewing progress by your delegates to streamline or simplify procedures. Reforming ill-conceived processes reduces the workload and cuts down on the number of stages that require monitoring. With the final objective in mind, ask delegates to work back through all the stages currently employed to the starting point of the task.

With this chain of activities mapped out, look for any stages that could be combined or not done at all. In particular, ask delegates to eliminate wasteful handovers of incomplete pieces of work from one individual or department to another.

Reviewing Progress

Once a task is underway, you will need to review its progress and the performance of the delegate. There are a number of ways in which you can keep tabs on proceedings, including face-to-face discussions with the delegate, written reports, and personal observations.

Choose a system that suits you, is appropriate to the task, and gives you all the information you need to review what has been achieved so far. It must also enable you to check that you are on course to achieve the objectives and pinpoint any corrective action that may be required.

Questions To Ask Yourself

  1. Have I ensured the delegate is adequately trained?
  2. Is the delegate looking at the task with a fresh eye?
  3. Are too many handovers involved in the delegated tasks?
  4. Are defects being picked up and corrected quickly?
  5. What savings, if any, have been made by the delegate?


  1. Give inexperienced delegates special attention when monitoring tasks.
  2. Operate on the assumption that every process can be improved.

Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

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