Delegating Authority Key Management Principal

A key management skill for delegating effectively is to determine what amount/level of authority to grant with the assignment. While this is important to execution results, it is often over-looked or done poorly.

5 Steps to Project Assignments

The first step is to determine what areas of the project assignment being delegated require some level of authority. In most business assignments, there are five areas to consider.

1. Time line including deadlines, checkpoints or sub-project due dates

2. Support (inside or outside the business unit)

3. Equipment, software, tools, etc.

4. Skill or Knowledge training

5. Budget or spend limits

Determining Level of Authority in Making Assignments

The manager must determine what level of authority will be needed for any or all of these areas. To over look an area can mean delays, confusion and under-perfroming the assignment. Employees can hit a snag because they have to stop and come back for permission to act in one of these areas.

Once the potential level of “authority” is granted for  assignment to be delegated, the manager then needs to decide what the employee can handle. Here, there are several factors to consider.

– What is the experience level of this employee in an area where authority might facilitate the execution. Has a given employee had this type of authority before? Did they manage it well? Are any specific parameters needed to define the “act within these boundaries” rules?

  • If a given employee is new or has had little experience with this type of authority, the manager has several choices.
  • Delegate the authority conditionally. I refer to this as the, “you can do this, but you can’t do that” parameter.
  • Require a discussion with the manager in defined circumstances. For example, “you have the authority under these conditions but if there is anything different, you need to check back for approval.”
  • Having a mentor available could help bridge the experience gap? It can be very effective to use experienced Key members of the business unit to coach or guide the employee in the use of any authority granted.

In most situations, managers will usually under-grant authority versus regularly granting the appropriate level of freedom to act. This can be because of a need to control everything. It can also be the realization that employees have not received the proper training to  execute an assignment with the right level of authority.

It is the hallmark of top managers that they consistently think about and delegate the needed level of authority for each assignment. This is a management skill that underpins effective delegation. The manager has an opportunity to challenge and grow their people by trusting employees with the authority to execute out their assignment.

(c) Copyright 2011 – Michael D. Moore.  All Rights Reserved World Wide

Additional Management Resources

4 Levels of Authority

Develop Advanced Skills: You can learn more from our e-books, “Management By Delegation” and “Delegating Through the Lens of the Employee”  bringing real world experience and proven tools to managers world wide. Our Programs provide tested procedures, proven skills and valuable management delegation insights for those who manage people for results.

Learn More About – Advanced Delegation information for the use of “Authority” in managing people and projects.

Free Project Planning Tool: Be sure to obtain your complimentary copy of the “Project Development Scratch Pad” by joining our management skills group. simply Opt-in at the top of this page in the box at the right.


Michael D. Moore is the publisher of Management By Delegation and is a veteran executive with 40+ years in the Banking and Insurance Industries. A devoted entrepreneur, using his business experience to provide resources for managers and leaders at all levels. For the last 5 years, he has built a growing web presence for helping people with personal and professional development. To learn more about these advanced concepts & join our group Click here 5 Must Have Management Skills

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This