Delegation in itself can be considered one the most misunderstood functions in management responsibilities. Even though there are many of us who find ourselves in this position, the task of delegating responsibilities still has its purpose. When delegating in the military, it is done in a slightly different manner which is not always the same as that of the civilian world.
Let's face it, every manager or official has found themselves in the position to where they have to delegate authority to other employees. Even if it makes them feel uncomfortable, the task of delegating must still be focused on the accomplishment of their mission within their organization. However, care must still be taken not to lose the respect of those to whom you are designating assigned tasks. It is easy for one to achieve the responsibilities of a manager who has to delegate responsibilities to others, but it is just as easy to lose the respect of others when that authority is misused or misinterpreted.
First, let us define what delegation
is. Delegation is the handing of a task over to another person, usually a subordinate. It is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person to carry out specific activities. It allows a subordinate to make decisions, i.e. it is a shift of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. Delegation, if properly done, is not abdication. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction and review of 'delegated' work.
In the military, this type of delegation often occurs, but is under a different title. In the military, this process of delegating is called "being given a direct order". Giving direct orders is how the transaction of delegating is passed down from commissioned officers to non-commissioned officers to junior enlisted members. Delegating authority is not an easy task
, but is still a necessary part of any good business
. It is another way for a manager and/or supervisor to build confidence in his/her subordinates.
Delegating responsibility in the military is a characteristic that every service member must sooner or later become familiar with. It is not something that you just learn over night. These are skills that take time to develop. In any organization, even one such as the military, managers and higher level supervisors and officials task subordinates for completion of certain types of missions. Although it may seem to many that the senior official is passing his responsibilities on to another, this is not true in most cases. It is another way for higher leaders to see how their subordinates perform the task and also evaluate their subordinates with a given situation. Most leaders tend to have confidence in their subordinate members; this is also true even in the military. However there are those select few who tend to need constant supervision.
Within the military structure, delegation of authority is passed down from Commissioned Officers (CO's) to Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO's), and they in turn delegate these tasks down to subordinate members within the organization. Within the rank and file of the military, it is the responsibility of the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), to oversee and supervise the subordinate troops in the completion of any mission.
It is very important that the four functions of management are implemented when delegating assigned tasks. To begin, the Commissioned Officer (CO), and Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) will sit down and plan on how to successfully complete whatever mission they are assigned. The planning stages are very important, due to the fact that this is where it is determined what personnel and resources are needed for the job completion. Secondly, they organize how its completion is to be attained. Together, they will sit down and map out the organization and placement of troops. Once this information is received and understood by the NCO, it will be that person's responsibility to lead and control the members within the organization. To be an effective leader, it is important that you also be an effective planner and organizer. No CO will leave any task in the hands of an NCO if he feels that individual is incapable of leading and controlling troops.
The skills for effective delegation are vital to every manager or supervisor. First they must learn that no one can do everything alone. Managers and supervisors are expected to handle many things that are sometimes too much for one person to handle. Next, evaluate the task to avoid possible failures before you decide to delegate it. Also be sure to delegate the tasks to personnel who are capable of its completion. Assess the risks, have possible solutions to problems that you may foresee in its completion. Make sure that your orders are understood and what is to be expected of the person to whom you are delegating. Communication is the key in any situation. Orders or tasks that are not clearly understood tend to result in larger problems later on down the road. Also, ensure that the tools needed for the completion of any task are readily available. The task cannot be accomplished if the resources for its completion are lacking. Also ensure that the interpretation of the task is understood. Even though the directions may be read by all, the interpretation may be different for each person assigned. Be sure that all personnel assigned are on the same sheet of music before you delegate the task down to subordinates. When delegating, be sure to give your personnel enough room to work. Looking over their shoulder or giving too much input during the process and completion of an assigned task tends to lead your personnel into believing that you have no confidence in them or their quality of work. In other words, don't micromanage. Finally get feedback from those to whom you assigned the tasks. An effective manager is not afraid to accept constructive criticism and/or hear what his subordinates have to say. Find out what worked and what didn't work and what your personnel suggest to do differently the next time. What changes were made and solutions to any problems that were encountered. Be sure to include your delegation skills and ways you as a manager can improve relations with your subordinates. In many organizations, the best ideas come from the lower levels of an organization rather than from the top. Unfortunately, in today's business market, many managers and officials see this as a threat to their immediate positions and do not know how to take criticism whether it is positive or negative. This is an obstacle that all managers and officials must seek to overcome for the improvement of supervisor/subordinate relations.