Delegation (Part 3): The DANGERS

[The following is an excerpt from TrustED®: The Bridge to School Improvement]

There are many benefits to delegating leadership. However, there are dangers as well. One of the greatest is that of not understanding the difference between delegation and abdication. Delegating leadership must always involve accountability that ensures the faculty or staff member provides reports on milestones of progress to their supervisor and receives meaningful feedback at the same time. Effective delegation means continued engagement by the school leader. Delegation does not mean that the leader washes his or her hands of responsibility. The opposite is true.

Even though a task or responsibility has been delegated, the school leader is still ultimately responsible. Trusted school leaders understand this. It is similar to a football coach. The players may be delegated with carrying out and perhaps even choosing a certain play, but the coach is ultimately responsible if the play does not go well. Barry Silverstein shares this insightful understanding of the significant difference between delegation and abdication:

“You can’t just drop a project on someone’s desk and hope he or she will figure it out — that would be abdicating your responsibility as a manager. Instead, a good manager first gives thought to which tasks are appropriate to delegate to which employees and then diligently follows up to be sure each task has been successfully completed. An effective manager explains the why of the task and establishes goals, due dates, and criteria to measure success. But a manager should not detail the how. It is the employee’s responsibility to take ownership of the job and determine the best way to get it done.” (Best Practices)

Effective delegation means the school leader knows his or her people and provides support structures for their success. Providing support, in turn, builds trust in the supervisor… [continue reading]

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