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Deciding What to Delegate

DECIDING WHAT TO DELEGATE: Once the benefits of delegation are established and obstacles removed, the next step in the delegation process is to decide what work can and should be delegated. In general, work to be delegated should adhere to the following guidelines: - It can be handled adequately down the line. - All necessary information for decision making is also available down the line. - The work involves operational detail rather than planning or organization. - The task does not require skills unique to the manager or position. - An individual other than the manager has, or can have, direct control over the task.

WHAT NOT TO DELEGATE: There are, of course, tasks that should never be delegated: work that involves confidential information; "crash programs" that usually demand the experience and expertise of management; and tasks involving supervisor-subordinate relations such as employee evaluations, development, training, compensation, counseling, discipline, and morale-building.

CHOOSING WHAT TO DELEGATE: Managers should divide all of their current tasks into three categories: (1) work that only the manager can perform; (2) work that can be delegated immediately; and (3) work that can be delegated as soon as an employee can be trained to handle it.

BE PREPARED: Responsibility for carrying out a delegated assignment to its end-including making decisions, exercising ingenuity and resourcefulness, and doing his or her own worrying-is a necessary part of any successful delegation. A manager who delegates a task must be willing to step back and keep suggestions, questions, and interruptions to a minimum.

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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

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