If you’ve watched plays, you’ve probably seen the curtain call at the end where the actors, the director and the production team line up and take a bow. It’s clear that a lot of effort goes into staging a play. Several people are involved!

A director can produce a play successfully because a team of dedicated people helps out. The director delegates responsibilities to different teams to handle costumes, props, lights, and so on. It all comes together on the day of the final performance.

Similarly, team leaders and managers at the workplace delegate work. This is how teams can achieve organizational goals. There are various types of delegation of authority that come into play in different scenarios. Let’s look at the meaning of delegation and its different types.

What Is Delegation Of Authority?

Delegation of authority is the process of transferring or entrusting responsibilities to another person. In businesses, managers often delegate responsibilities to their team members. 

The purpose of delegating authority is to ensure that the responsibility is divided among different people and no single person has too much to handle. 

Delegating work is key to creating a well-functioning and productive team. The process of delegation benefits managers and team leaders because it helps them get more work done quickly. Individual members of a team also get to learn and take ownership of new tasks.

Various kinds of delegation improve employee performance. Let’s look at how this process can benefit managers and leaders.

  1. Increased Productivity

When tasks are delegated or distributed among a group of people, every person is responsible for different parts of that task. The team can complete the project faster because the responsibilities are spread out and the employees work towards their respective targets.

  1. Employee Development

When employees are encouraged to take ownership of tasks, they feel confident about demonstrating their skills and expertise in specific areas. It helps them sharpen their technical and interpersonal skills.

  1. Employee Motivation

To delegate is to entrust somebody with something. Similarly, when a leader delegate authority to employees, the message she sends is that she trusts them with the power to carry out the responsibilities. Employees feel driven to perform their best when they have accountability.

  1. Career Growth Opportunities

Different types of delegation allow people to think and act independently. They get to make decisions, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. They feel prepared to shoulder additional responsibilities and put their competencies to best use. This helps them advance in their career.

Types Of Delegation Of Authority

Various types of delegation in management exist because different external factors influence the process differently. Here are some of the different types of delegation:

  1. Full And Half Delegation

These two types of delegation determine the degree to which someone delegates their authority.

Recurring and repetitive jobs are often fully delegated. When managers and leaders don’t need to give their inputs for a task, they can give their team maximum authority. Imagine you have to solve a crisis for a new client on the same day you have a presentation for an old client. You can fully delegate the presentation to someone who has worked with the client and helped prepare the presentation. Attending to the new client yourself and asking your employee to provide a brief after their presentation is an example of full delegation.

Half or partial delegation seems like a risky idea, but when done well, it can do wonders. Imagine you’re the Human Resources executive. You’re supposed to hire new employees but there are too many applicants. You can delegate the task of shortlisting potential candidates to your team. Share the criteria for shortlisting the candidates in advance so there’s little room for error. You can then look at the shortlisted resumes and make your decision accordingly.

  1. Formal And Informal Delegation

These types of delegation of authority depict the different degrees of formality involved in a delegation process.

When delegation is part of the organizational structure or requirements, it’s known as formal delegation. Here, the responsibility is fixed and it creates an obligation. For example, when someone signs a job contract, their reporting manager’s name is written on the contract. This formally states that they are answerable to this individual. When they sign the contract, they officially accept the conditions.

Informal delegation doesn’t create any obligation. The need for informal delegation is circumstantial. You undertake a task not because you’re formally assigned to it, but because it’s part of your job description and deliverables. For example, employees may be asked to work during a weekend because of an urgent deadline.

  1. General And Specific Delegation

These types of delegation determine how someone should perform their responsibilities.

Under general delegation, individuals usually perform all functions in their department. However, each person is answerable to their manager despite having the core responsibility. For example, middle-management employees often handle the multidisciplinary functions of planning, executing and delegating work.

Specific delegation refers to a specific task or function. It’s precise and the person with the responsibility clearly understands their role. For example, a freelance marketing professional may be required to produce only marketing collateral for a particular project within a specific timeline.

To effectively delegate work in different ways, it’s important to learn how a team functions. Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course will help you find the best ways to understand and manage your team. The Social Styles Model will teach you about the different working styles people have. The Skill-Will Matrix will guide you in determining whether your team can take up a particular project and stay driven until the end. Effective leaders create the next wrung of leadership. So, what are you waiting for? Delegate skillfully and inspire others to grow alongside you!


Explore topics such as Delegation of Authority, the Principles of Delegation & Process of Delegation from our Harappa Diaries section and manage your teams much more efficiently.

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