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Economic Times: 5 ways to delegate decision making

One of the basic tenets of leadership is being able to build leaders out of others. Leaders must do this by delegating decision-making, or empowering people in their teams to independently decide solutions to problems. This decentralised method of leadership helps the organisation reach the next level of growth because decisions and capabilities lie not in the hands of one, but many. Brinda Dasgupta has tips from experts on how leaders can delegate decision-making to ensure the organisation runs smoothly.

1 Know What You’re Delegating 
In any organisation, there is always a mix of nascent initiatives being explored to get to the next level of growth and initiatives that have reached product/market fit – that is, being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market – and need to be scaled. “Leaders should only delegate those areas that are beyond exploratory stage – initiatives that have achieved product/market fit as they have relatively less ambiguity, are ideas that are proven, and only flawless execution is required to scale it,” says Sreejita Deb, chief business officer at Flyrobe, an online designer clothing rental service.

2 Get Updated Only When Necessary 
Work with team leads to set up initial processes, and then take a step back and let employees make the decisions on their own. “Reviews can help leaders stay up to date on how these processes are functioning, but only step in when there is any crisis that needs intervention,” says Pradeep Dadha, CEO at online pharmacy Netmeds. 


3 Leave Aside Ego 
Successful delegation of decisionmaking is about leaving ego aside and leaders recognising that they don’t necessarily have to do it all. “It works only in an environment where employees are empowered to learn, work on their own, and make their own choices about processes, while at the same time demonstrating responsibility and accountability,” Dadha says. 

4 Don’t Micromanage

Delegation is a culture, and it’s important to be able to delegate decisions to employees whose strengths complement your weaknesses, says Sumit Mitra, CEO at Tesco Business Services, Bengaluru-based services arm of UK retailer Tesco. “Have faith that your team has enough expertise and knowledge to make the right decisions; do not suffocate them by micromanaging. It is important to give them the space to lead the work on their own,” Mitra says. Instead, focus on setting up the right mechanisms to monitor the progress from a distance. 

5 Ask for Small Outcomes 
It is essential to ask your team for measurable milestones and outcomes at regular intervals. “Ask for updates and outcomes from time to time, to make sure the work is being done correctly; you can also ask the team for a roadmap of the strategy they are following,” Mitra says.