The Seven Stages of Delegation

delegation skillsDelegation skills are needed by all managers who want to be successful. Delegation, unlike work allocation, involves the transfer of responsibility for doing a task or project the manager would normally perform to one of their employees. However, many managers struggle with delegation, particularly with the transfer of responsibility.

In his book “Produce More - Work Less” (Moderne Publishing Ltd.) Michael Le Beouf distinguished seven stages of delegating responsibility. The transfer of responsibility from the manager to the employee increases with every stage. The 7 stages of delegation he described are:

Stage 1. “Analyse the problem. Inform me of all the facts. I will then decide what you should do.”

Stage 2. “Inform me of all the possible alternative solutions, including their advantages and disadvantages. I will then decide on one of these.”

Stage 3. “Show me a plan of how you propose to solve the problem. I will check it and then give you the go-ahead.”

Stage 4. “Keep me informed of what you are doing. Keep going as long as I don’t have any objections.”

Stage 5. “Go ahead under your own steam. Tell me what you have done and keep me informed of the results.”

Stage 6. “Go ahead on your own. Only inform me if, or when, you have not attained your goal.”

Stage 7. “Continue on your own. You no longer need to consult me.”

Before delegating in the future, you should first consider how much power and authority you want to transfer and how much responsibility the employee is ready to handle. The above breakdown of the stages involved in delegation will then help you to describe unambiguously to your staff the boundaries of their responsibility and so improve your delegation skills. Training of the employee by the manager may, of course, be required as part of the delegation process and will help to move your employees from stage one to stage 7.