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Using appropriate delegation to create a sense of ownership of higher-level organizational

issues and encouraging individuals to stretch beyond their current capabilities.

Key Actions

Chooses targetsGives work to the most appropriate person based on time, skills,
experience, position, and growth opportunities.

Defines latitudeDefines latitude of action and boundaries that provides enough autonomy
in decision making to encourage ownership of tasks; pushes decision making and autonomy
downward through the organization.

Promotes accountabilityDelegates; provides encouragement and support to others in

accepting responsibility with accountability; promotes risk taking, explores the reasons for
mistakes, and learns from them.

Provides guidanceChecks for understanding; provides instruction, resources, and

guidance as appropriate to support success without undermining the individuals full
ownership of issues.

Follows upBuilds follow-up and accountability into organizational processes to monitor


Skill Enhancers

Identify appropriate tasks to delegate; track deadlines and due dates.

Establish and maintain a process to track how work is distributed to identify staff members
who have time for taking on new projects.

When assigning tasks or projects, use information from past assignments and consider staff
members skills, knowledge, and experience.

When empowering people, be sure to suggest appropriate resources.

Push decision-making downward through the organization. Ensure that decisions are being
made at the level of the work, not at a higher level.

Set a time to discuss a delegation. During the meeting encourage and elicit staff members
ideas, consolidating the groundwork for the task.

Outline a projects purpose, parameters, and importance; include correspondence and

assignment due dates.

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For each task or decision, consider relinquishing decision-making authority to a staff


Hold direct reports accountable for delegating appropriately.

Upon completing a project, schedule follow-up meetings to determine whether quality

standards and time commitments were met.

Review customer survey comments to assess the quality of a delegated task or project.

Seek out staff members opinions on issues, projects, and decisions through memos,
meetings, informal and formal talks, etc.

Hold regular staff meetings and provide opportunities for exchanging information among
group members.

Tell your leader about staff accomplishments at a meeting or in memos.

Developmental Activities
Examine past assignments in your area. Note the nature and importance of the
assignments, who handled them, and how visible the outcomes were. Examine staff
members project history and create a staff development needs analysis. Use the analysis
to provide staff members with challenging, visible, critical, and skill-enhancing

Meet individually with staff members to show them how their responsibilities relate to
department/area and organization operations; recognize their contributions.

Identify tasks that could be entrusted to direct reports and plan the delegation as soon as

At the outset of a project, meet with everyone involved to define objectives, roles, and

Establish several interim deadlines over the course of a project to pinpoint when specific
tasks must be completed.

Set regular update meetings during a project to review progress and to ensure that
objectives are being met.

Be available to people working on a project; ask questions and provide guidance as

needed. Stay out of the way when not needed to allow individuals to fully own
the work.

Check progress by talking informally with people throughout a project to be sure targets
are being met (i.e., manage by walking around).

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Request activity status reports describing a projects progress.

Schedule meetings to support empowerment opportunities that reinforce organizational

goals and philosophies.

Develop a training/development matrix for your department or area outlining staff

training needs. Use corporate programs and challenging assignments to provide staff
members with opportunities to meet these needs. Track their progress.

Develop and implement a cross-training, job-rotation, or intergroup project management

program within your department or area. This will give staff members a chance to
broaden their skills and explore other department/area opportunities.

Volunteer for community, charitable, cultural, or political organizations and organize

activities that encompass numerous tasks and provide opportunities to delegate.

Schedule staff meetings to discuss how staff contributions support the organizations
goals. Ask for feedback on how well you have provided the resources and support they
need to accomplish their objectives.

Use a process to provide constructive feedback on staff members performance.

Delegate for development purposes, empowering staff to determine what to do and how
to do it.

Put staff members on important committees or work groups that will increase their
visibility and networking opportunities. Occasionally, let staff members participate in
such activities in your place.

Give assignments individually to staff members. Discuss the specifics, including needed
resources, and reassure them of your support.

Request feedback from peers and direct reports about the clarity of the delegation and the
effectiveness of your follow-up system. Seek ideas for improvements or additions.
Make appropriate behavior changes.

Work with direct reports to identify assignments, particularly those for development, they
can delegate to their staffs. Coach direct reports on empowering their staffs to determine
how to accomplish delegated tasks.

Hold direct reports accountable for delegating challenging assignments to their staffs.

Targeted Assignments
Support a project team as a coach; other members will have most of the responsibility for
accomplishing the task.

Take a workshop designed to focus on and build trust, collaboration, empowerment

skills, and follow-up and control skills.

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Developmental Resources
Look for a workshop that addresses the following:
Motivating employees.

Understanding the dynamics of power and control in an organization.

Finding ways to reward accomplishment.

Developing team attitude and spirit.

Delegating responsibility (i.e., relinquishing control) with complete confidence and trust.

Giving visibility to others.

Building relationships.

Understanding the power of trust in the business community.

Additional Learning Resources

Blanchard, K.H., Carlos, J., & Randolph, A. (1999). The three keys to empowerment: Release the
power within people for astonishing results. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
Blanchard, K.H., Carlos, J., & Randolph, A. (2001). Empowerment takes more than a minute
(2nd ed.). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
Byham, W.C., & Cox, J. (1994). HeroZ: Empower yourself, your coworkers, your company. New
York: Harmony Books.
Byham, W.C. (with Cox, J.). (1998). Zapp! The lightning of empowerment: How to improve
productivity, quality, and employee satisfaction (Rev. ed.). New York: Ballantine Books.
Caroselli, M. (1999). Empowerment works: Empowering and developing employees. West Des
Moines, IA: American Media.
Catlette, B., & Hadden, R. (1998). Contented cows give better milk: The plain truth about
employee relations and your bottom line. Germantown, TN: Saltillo Press.
Ginnodo, B. (1997). The power of empowerment: What the experts say and 16 actionable case
studies. Arlington Heights, IL: Pride.
Heller, R., & Hindle, T. (1998). How to delegate. New York: DK.
Katzenbach, J.R. (2000). Peak performance: Aligning the hearts and minds of your employees.
Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Development Dimensions Intl, Inc., MMI. Revised MMII. All rights reserved.
Leadership Mirror Executive Competencies Development Guides
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Maddux, R.B. (1998). Delegating for results. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp.
Maxwell, J.C. (2001). The seventeen indisputable laws of teamwork: Embrace them and empower
your team. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Murrell, K.L. (2000). Empowering employees. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Roebuck, C. (1999). Effective delegation: The essential guide to thinking and working smarter.
New York: AMACOM.
Straub, J.T. (1998). The agile managers guide to delegating work. Bristol, VT: Velocity.
Terex, T. (2000). Twenty-two keys to creating a meaningful workplace. Holbrook, MA: Adams
Argyris, C. (1998, May/June). Empowerment: The emperors new clothes. Harvard Business
Review, 76(3), 98105
Bernard, B. (1998, April). Delegating duties the right way. Nations Business, 86(4), 10.
Bethel, S.M. (2000, January). Productive delegating. Executive Excellence, 17(1), 16.
Carroll, B. (2001, Spring). Leadership in lean, empowering manufacturing organizations. Journal
of Organizational Excellence, 20(2), 8190.
Dess, G.G., & Picken, J.C. (2000, Winter). Changing roles: Leadership in the 21st century.
Organizational Dynamics, 28(3), 1834.
Dover, K. (1999, January). Avoiding empowerment traps. Management Review, 88(1), 5156.
Forrester, R. (2000, August). Empowerment: Rejuvenating a potent idea. Academy of
Management Executive, 14(3), 6780.
Holmes, C., & Maruca, R.F. (1999, November/December). Fighting the urge to fight fires.
Harvard Business Review, 77(6), 30, 32.
Johnson, A. (1999, September). Real empowerment. Executive Excellence, 16(9), 20.
Lee, D. (2000, June). Becoming a talent magnet. Executive Excellence, 17(6), 1011.
Oncken, W., & Wass, D.L. (1999, November/December). Management time: Whos got the
monkey? Harvard Business Review, 77(6), 178186.
Quinn, R.E., & Spreitzer, G.M. (1997, Autumn). The road to empowerment: Seven questions
every leader should consider. Organizational Dynamics, 26(2), 3749.

Development Dimensions Intl, Inc., MMI. Revised MMII. All rights reserved.
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Randolph, A. (2000, July). Real empowerment?: Manage the boundaries. Harvard Management
Update, 5(7), 10.
Randolph, W.A. (2000, Fall). Re-thinking empowerment: Why is it so hard to achieve?
Organizational Dynamics, 29(2), 94107.
Weiss, W.H. (2000, September). The art and skill of delegating. Supervision, 61(9), 35.
Wetlaufer, S. (1999, January/February). Organizing for empowerment: An interview with AESs
Roger Sant and Dennis Bakke. Harvard Business Review, 77(1), 111123.

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