Developing Qualities for Effective Delegation as a Manager


Delegation is an effective tool for increasing both output and quality of production in any business or organization. Managers who embrace the process of delegation will find the positive effects far outweigh any negative effects. To successfully implement this technique, a manager requires some specific skills. In fact there are 10 specific qualities or characteristics a manager must develop to lead the staff in this direction of increased quality production.

In this article these 10 qualities will be examined.

Focus Points:

1. To succeed in the process of delegation, a manager must be honest.

This quality may seem common, but it is very important in delegation. The leader who assigns tasks, who must counsel them through problems, train them, monitor their progress, assess and evaluate their progress and growth, promote and redirect them, must be honest. Not perceived as honest, but truly honest. The quality of honesty is the foundation for trust. It is the basis for building open communication that will frame delegation.

Every part of the process is sealed with the stamp of honesty. The building of rapport with staff, having informal discussions that create familiarity in development of relationships with them, and being believable will create an atmosphere of genuine team building. The manager who is honest can bring employees together, increasing both the quality and quantity of production.

2. To be effective in delegation, a manager must be a teacher.

A teacher is not simply an individual who stands before a classroom of kids. There are plenty of those who cannot teach. A teacher must know how to effectively communicate concepts and ideas in understandable language, using methods that are proven to work. A manager gives assignments, sets goals, and monitors the work of the team. Managers are required to evaluate employees' work, to give them independence to be creative, grow, and find their own way, while the manager stands back, ready to guide and redirect.

The quality of teaching will enhance the growth of the team and the company through the use of various learning techniques that are brain-based and incorporate different learning styles. Managers who have this quality naturally, or who spend time developing the skill of teaching, will see their employees as their students, giving them support, encouraging and challenging them to levels much higher than they otherwise might ascend.

The saying that you give a man a fish and he will eat today, but you teach him to fish and he will feed himself for a lifetime, fits this scenario. The quality of teaching is to put into the hands of your people, the skills to succeed.

3. A manager requires the quality of compassion .

In any company, the leaders, the managers of different areas or aspects of the company, deal directly with people. Human beings can be tough, strong, flexible, and creative, but they can also be lacking in confidence, needing direction, and every one fails at some point in life.

A manager needs to be compassionate. They need to be able to feel what their employees feel, to invest in team members' personal visions, and stay in touch with the reality of working with others. The people within a company are so much like a family. As manager, you are required to show mercy at times, have faith in ideas that are difficult for you to envision, and to have your employees' backs.

Compassion is the ability to care. It involves commitment, responsibility, and consistency to your employees. Every manager who expects to bring the work group to the highest possible level of quality production will be compassionate.

4. Self-control is essential for any manager, but especially for those who delegate.

Manager who delegate most tasks and use their time to train, guide, and monitor work, and build relationships must keep the ship sailing. Multi-tasking is the rule. A manager must be able to move from one event to another, from one thought to another, from one place to another, and from one employee to another, without a thought.

Self-control is required for a manager to work in this way. If managers are unable to regulate their own behavior, they will not be able to regulate others. As they move around the workplace, checking the work, meeting with their teams, and building relationships, they are modeling the entire time. Their staff is very aware of their every move and every word. The manager's voice levels and word choice may seem to be a small matter, but they will definitely display their feelings and moods.

It is not that a manager cannot have a day when they are aggravated, but in their aggravation, they must demonstrate they are able to put all things into perspective. If they can't handle their own reactions to stress, problems, and difficulties in a manner that is respectful to the office place and to the staff, then their leadership will be in jeopardy.

Self-control means you are in charge of how you react, not that you do not feel anger. An effective manager will be able to separate the feeling from the reaction. With practice, it becomes habit. In the art of delegation, a manager must be proactive in all areas, but primarily with self-control.

5. A manager who delegates must be expectant .

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Your staff comes in to work each day, week after week, to work on projects and tasks that have been delegated to them. Their attitude, habits, and effort will only be as good as you expect them to be.

Being expectant involves several aspects. It is holding the bar high, while encouraging, guiding, supporting and redirecting. It means, as your people work, you will be present. It means, as your people work, you will be purposeful in what you are about. Your movements, talk, body language -- all tell the staff what is going on in your head. To be expectant is to appear in every way that you have no doubt that your employees will strive to do their best every time.

To be expectant is to perceive issues that could arise. It is not expecting problems, but keeping an awareness of the things going on in the workplace beyond the actual work. The relationships, attitudes, stress factors, needs of the staff, and all the other influences that effect the atmosphere, require management, as well as the work. To be expectant is be forward-looking in all ways. In some ways, it is like driving a car. You have to be vigilant, watchful, and ready to react or prevent in the moment.

6. Listening well is a characteristic that is needed by a manager who delegates.

In the course of a day, a manager may interact with many different staff members, groups, clients, and their own boss. Managers have to communicate as they support their team, and as they direct them in the progression of their work. Communication only works if listening is part of that.

It may seem to be obvious, yet too many fail at it. Listening is more than hearing. It is a skill. When you listen, you read the tensions in another person, you make inferences from their words and phrases, and you become aware of another person's emotions.

Listening well when you use the processes of delegation is necessary. There is no way a manager can delegate effectively without listening. Listening demonstrates respect for those who work for you. It is a response to the effort your staff puts forth in production. Listening means you care on a personal level, as well as a professional one.

7. Delegation requires a manager to be knowledgeable .

In the course of moving up to the management position, an employee learns a lot. And an employee who is pegged for a management slot usually demonstrates the skills to be successful. However that person who is chosen for management must be aware of more depth of interpersonal relationships, behavioral and social issues, brain functioning, and cultural diversity. Knowledge of the company's business is definitely essential. Knowledge of business management is required. Knowledge of workplace paradigms is supportive. Knowledge of how the human mind organizes, sorts, and processes information is, however, an area where a manager often falls on their face.

Having good people skills and knowing the business is important. The basis of human interaction, decision making, and behavior is much more complex and often avoided in business schools. It is paramount that every employee who is tagged for management be given education in the realm of how the brain functions. It is, after all, the brain that the manager will be affecting each day. The brain is the core of all work, both positive and negative issues, and growth in the employee of every company. That is enough evidence to support the need for an increase in knowledge of how the brain works, how it controls all functions of each person, and how a manager can affect how it processes.

8. Managers who are successful demonstrate the quality of ethics .

Ethics is an elusive quality to define. It is often connected with beliefs, religion, law, and relationships. Ethics is simply the standards a person has of "rightness" and "wrongness." And yet that is not simple at all.

It seems one might make a list of what is felt to be right or wrong. The list will be couched in the person's culture, upbringing, and experiences. No two people will make the same list. A person will often say the expected things when asked about their ethics. They will think about what is legal, prevalently accepted in their own communities, or state "rules" they learned growing up.

Ethics, in relation to management, will be defined by the company's standards or goals. Personal ethics of any individual will often match an organization's stance on issues -- or that person would not go there to work. An individual's ethics are not static and are influenced on a regular basis by the mood of society, new learning attained, and the shift in social norms.

9. Managers who are successful demonstrate the quality of tolerance.

It is written about, talked about, and discussed more than most other subjects today, but tolerance is a base skill that every manager needs to examine personally. Tolerance is the ability to work, communicate, and interact with people who are different from you culturally, physically, mentally, behaviorally, or ethically.

Tolerance is more than important for a manager to develop -- it is necessary. Managers have to be aware. They have to be aware of their people, and who they really are. They have to know and understand their staff. They must respect and figure out how to work around the differences within their department.

If managers are not tolerant, they will limit their staff to fit their own mold. That is a dangerous thing. A company is only as creative, growth oriented, and strong as its staff. A staff that is chosen for reasons that are narrow, due to the intolerance of the management, will produce a product or service that is narrowly developed. To be successfully tolerant is to be open minded; let go of total control and ego, and know that there are many ways to work and interact. A manager who is able to get past their own view of the world, to seeing that of others, will find the quality and quantity of the workplace improve.

10. The tenth quality of a manager who delegates is that of motivation.

The manager who is motivated will be ready for change, will be quick to change direction as needed, and be capable of moving forward no matter what is happening. In a workplace that supports the process of delegation, managers who are not self-motivated will be unable to keep their employees motivated. It is easy to see that a lack of motivation will stifle a team.

The manager is a leader in all areas. Motivation instills confidence, energy and direction for a team. When a manager is excited about the work, the staff, and the ideas and production that happens throughout a day, their leadership is exciting and productive. Motivation is the fuel that drives the work, the people, the ideas and the quality. Motivation is a key to staying ahead of the competition. Motivation gives any manager an edge in the game of business

Set up your physical or computerized notebook:

Make a list of the 10 qualities every manager needs to delegate successfully for increased output and quality of production. Make some notes under each and set some personal goals for improvement in areas where you come up lacking.

1. Honesty

2. Teaching

3. Compassion

4. Self-control

5. Expectant

6. Listening well

7. Knowledgeable

8. Ethical

9. Tolerant

10. Motivated


1. If I put the 10 qualities in order of importance, what would that look like?

2. Can you give at least one quality that you should develop?

3. Can you explain what it means to be expectant?

4. Which of the 10 qualities would you list as your best. and why?

If you are unsure of these considerations, go back and review the material.