Magazine article Management Today

MT Learning Curve: Delegation

Magazine article Management Today

MT Learning Curve: Delegation

Article excerpt

What is it? You can't do everything. No, really, you just can't That is why companies hire people, and why sensible bosses delegate at least some tasks and duties to others. Delegation is not dumping.

It does not mean simply offloading work to others that you can't be bothered to do. True delegation involves passing on work that others are equipped to carry out. Sir John Harvey-Jones used to say that there was no great secret to leading a business well. All you had to do was hire as many talented people as possible and then delegate as much as possible to them.

Where did it come from? In his famous work The Wealth of Nations (1776), Adam Smith discussed the efficiency made possible by the division of labour. He described how work was organised in a pin factory: 'One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head ... the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about 18 distinct operations . …

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