Delegation and Empowerment

Delegation and Empowerment Management consultant and Peter Drucker once said that, "The aim of any organization is to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things" (as cited in Manage Train Learn, 2008). Managers and supervisors often have a limited amount of time to accomplish all the tasks that they are responsible for. By using qualified and capable subordinates, the supervisor can delegate many of the tasks that they are charged with. In addition, employees can be empowered to make many of the day to day decisions that the manager is accountable for. Delegating and empowering not only frees up the manager to accomplish more important tasks, but it also more effectively makes use of the available human resources. When handled properly, delegating and empowering can enable the ordinary worker to excel to the limits of their competence.
Because delegation is necessary for a manager to accomplish his job it is a vital component of a successful organization. Health care organizations are especially aided by delegation and are able to maximize the use of their limited human capital. Knowledge and information may reside in only a few key positions. By delegating authority, while remaining accountable, the manager can delegate key tasks to other qualified personnel. This is even more important where there may be a shortage of doctors or nurses. By utilizing all the workers to the maximum of their ability, the organizational structure is strengthened.
Delegation is a formal process of planning, preparing, auditing, and feedback (Allen, 1998). The supervisor must communicate fully with the worker in regards to the expectations and time frames. The results of the delegation need to be monitored regularly and the worker needs to receive regular feedback or appreciation (Allen, 1998). Delegation empowers the worker with the authority of the supervisor. Empowerment can also come from a company culture that is not derived from delegation. Employees may be granted power through access to knowledge or the authority to make day to day decisions without the involvement of management. While delegation and empowerment both transfer power downward in the organization, delegation is a more formal process (Allen, 1998).
Managers must use caution when delegating or empowering. Employees need to know exactly what they are charged with as well as the limits of the authority that is being delegated. They must also regularly monitor and measure progress to be certain that the task is being completed effectively as the manager will be held responsible for any problems that arise. In the health care setting, supervisors need to be aware of federal and state laws that govern the types of tasks that can be delegated and the associated licensing requirements.
Delegation is a formal process of granting the authority to an employee to do a task that is assigned to the manager. Empowerment gives employees more control over the decision process. Health care, faced with a shortage of doctors, medical assistants, and nurses, must be fully aware of the legal requirements when delegating tasks. By utilizing delegation and empowerment, a business can make the best use of their scarce human resources and with proper preparation and follow-up it can strengthen an organization.
References
Allen, G. (1998). Delegating. Retrieved January 25, 2008, from http://ollie.dcccd.edu/mgmt1374/book_contents/3organizing/deleg/delegate.htm
Manage Train Learn (2008, January 25). Retrieved January 25, 2008, from http://www.managetrainlearn.com/live/at8.asp