Leadership Theories: Delegative Leadership

Another of the leadership theories is delegative leadership. Delegative Leadership is a powerful form of leadership that each leader should learn to do well.

While it requires a lot of trust and faith from the leader to the team, it can reap great rewards when the team is given full authority to do their tasks.

However, work should not be fully delegated to a direct report unless the leader believes that the direct report is ready to do work unsupervised. Not everyone is ready for such autonomy and some may abuse the freedom they get to laze off.

It is more likely though that leaders use delegative leadership without empowerment. That is a mistake.

Empowering someone doesn’t just mean giving him/her the responsibility of the task. It also means you give the person the necessary competencies to do the task well; the resources needed for the task to be completed and the necessary authority to complete the task.

Let’s talk about these three in detail:

Three Requirements For Effective Delegation

1. Competency to handle the task

The first thing you have to take note when delegating a task is to ask yourself if the person has the competency to handle it. If the person is new to the job or is an inexperienced worker, to pass a task to that person is only going to cause disaster to follow.

Although the person may have responsible enough, they may not have the necessary know-how.

In the corporate world, such a staff will be reprimanded for being incompetent. However, it may be better to reserve the comments and ask yourself if the staff has been given the necessary training to perform.

2. Resources to back up

Besides ensuring that the person has the competency, you must also ensure that the person has sufficient resources to achieve the task. If you ask for results, you must also be prepared to invest resources into the task to ensure that they can complete the task.

  • Is there expertise within the organization that this person can tap on?
  • What’s the budget allocated to this project?
  • Is this person given enough time to finish the project?

You don’t send a general to war without giving him a battalion of troops. Likewise, you do not delegate a project to someone without giving them the necessary resources.

3. Authority to execute the task

And of course, this person must be delegated authority to execute the task smoothly. This means that every request within the scope of the project is done in your name.

It is like a uniformed policeman. All that he does when he is uniform is done in the name of the law. He carries the authority of the law with him wherever he goes and he has the power to make arrests in the name of the law.

He does not have to check back with headquarters before he makes an arrest or take out his gun. This is an example of effective organizational leadership.

Delegation takes a lot effort because you need the person to perform up to your expectations as well. But in the end, if you want your organization to grow and people to be empowered, you need to learn effective delegation.

Bass and Colleagues Five Styles Of Leadership

» Directive leadership style
The directive leader tells his followers what to do, and how to do it exactly. He specifics standards required of his followers and exercise firm authority over them.

» Consultative leadership style
The consultative leader seeks the counsel of the whole team before making a decision on what the team should do. He is also task oriented, but he seeks the opinion of his followers as well.

» Participative leadership style
The participative leader puts himself as a member of the team and discusses possible decisions with the team. He seeks consensus before coming to a decision and everyone is supposed to take ownership in the final decision.

» Negotiative leadership style
The negotiative leader employs a more political approach to leadership. He has a personal interest in his decisions and he uses incentives to entice his followers to do certain things.

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