Delegative management

Delegative management, what is it?

Delegative management is the opposite of micro-managing. The manager assigns tasks, provides the necessary resources and tools to complete them, and gives the team member the responsibility for completing the tasks with minimal supervision. The manager still retains responsibility for the final product/service. This style is a way to express trust in your team member, as well as freeing yourself to remain open and available to them for support and feedback.


Consult our training outline on delegation and motivation and contact us if you would like us to deliver this in-house training course for your company.

What are the advantages of a delegative management style?

The manager provides minimal supervision while the team member is given great leeway. This style boosts morale and increases productivity in the right circumstances. It also allows the team member to strengthen their management and personal leadership skills.

What are the disadvantages of a delegative management style?

Because so much trust is placed in the team member who is given responsibility, this is a dangerous style if they are not knowledgeable enough or invested in completing the task successfully. If your team member has difficulty in disciplining themselves or has poor time management skills it is likely that he/she will miss deadlines. Lazy or ineffective leaders sometimes hide behind this style.

Three requirements for effective delegation

  • Competency to handle the task

The first thing you need to consider is if the team member you want to delegate a task to has the competency to handle it. If your team member is new to the job or is inexperienced, delegating a task which is beyond their ability will cause issues. So it's important to carefully consider whether or not individuals on your team are capable of completing the tasks you would like to delegate to them to a sufficiently high level of competence.

  • Resources

Besides ensuring that your team member has the ability to complete the task, you must also ensure that he/she has sufficient resources to do so. If you ask for results, you must also be prepared to invest resources so that they wiill be able to complete the task on time and to the required standard.

It is important to clearly communicate the budget and specify what other help is available - from other team members for instance. This will ensure that the person you delegate the task to is clear about his or her resources, and will use them with confidence.

  • Authority to execute

Your team member must be given enough authority to execute the task or project smoothly. Other team members need to understand that they should regard the team member responsible for delivery of the task or project as their leader when they are working on it. This will ensure that there is much less room for arguments and conflicts.
Effective delegation takes a lot of effort, but is essential in a growing organisation. At the end of the day, you won't be able to do everything yourself and learning to delegate effectively will free you up to focus on performing other pertinent tasks for your business.

What situations are most appropriate for delegative management?

Delegative management is a good method to use in any situation where your team members are competent to handle the task, have the resources  and authority to achieve it. This style is best used by an experienced leader who remains available for support and feedback, without interfering with the execution of the task.

Delegative management involves minimal supervision and gives subordinates great freedom. But don't think that you have to adhere to only one specific management style. There are many different styles detailed in our resources, and it's common for effective managers to switch styles at appropriate times. The important thing is to find a style that fits your personality, as well as the needs of the situation you find yourself in.


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