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Wally Bock

Great and needed post, Steve. I devote a lot of time to this issue in my Working Supervisor's Support kit because it's important. Some writers have held up delegation as if it were a moral value to delegate, but, in reality, delegation is one end of the spectrum of control you exercise as a boss when you assign work. The other end is complete control and monitoring. Gradations of control and discussion run along the continuum.

Delegation is also task-specific. A team member might be entirely ready to handle one kind of task and not at all ready to handle another. It's a judgment call.

If you delegate to people before they're ready, you're setting them up for failure. Don't delegate to them when they're capable and you communicate that you don't trust them. And, as you point out so well, you're still the boss and you're all in it together, no matter what you do.

Steve Roesler


Well, it's worth the investment in the Working Supervisor's Support Kit just for that.

As you note, it's a continuum. Most of us probably experience--and even lean toward--either/or types of behavior.

When managers start "getting" the task-specific part of the diagnostic equation, it can prove to be a big boost to everyone concerned.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

Frode H

One single key word: Empowerment.
To succeed as a leader you need to empower to delegate responsibility. I have been so lucky to succeed with a team of people. The secret is empowerment. We elected 3 persons to be team captains, or team leaders if you need to call it that. These people had responsibility for a team of seven. But not full responsibility, if anything goes wrong, that is my responsibility. But they would be the first line of questions from the employees. We trained them good and they get extra training. So if the employees wonder about any technical or routine question, they go to the team leader first. The team leaders are also an escalation point for difficult requests, so they get more challenging tasks. They are also responsible to keep the happiness and fun rating in the sky range. They sit in on calls listening to the overall performance of the team. They are responsible for motivating the team to win team competitions. All in all they create one happy team and results. They have the power to make decisions on a few important fields. They have the power to create results.

Steve Roesler


That's a good real-life example of "being in it together." What is very clear is this: everyone knows exactly where to get help when they need it.

This is an excellent model for other managers to follow.

Wally Bock

Congratulations! This post was selected as one of the five best independent business blog posts of the week in my Three Star Leadership Midweek Review of the Business Blogs.


Wally Bock

Mike Myatt

Hi Steve:

Great points...Delegation should not be confused with abdication. The trick is to remain engaged in an appropriate fashion after the hand-off in order to maintain continuity without being guilty of micro-managing.

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