Good delegation not only frees up senior members of the firm’s time, increases firm profitability and develops the more junior members of the firm.

There are many reasons why delegation doesn’t happen effectively in a firm – personal utilisation targets is often a major obstacle to effective delegation. However, sometimes when the stakes are high, we tend not to delegate and keep the task or responsibility on our to-do list. Unless our team members are used to responsibilities when the stakes are high, how are they ever to learn?

Here are five ways of minimising risks when delegating:

1. Identify the risks

When delegating a responsibility for the first time – or if the stakes have risen considerably – do an analysis of where the risks are. That way, you can put in place an action plan and structure to minimise the risks.

2. Monitor the risks

When you know where the high risks are, you are then in a position to monitor the areas of high risks. For example, if you delegate the management of a budget and cost centre, until the budget holder is completely up-to-speed, you will want regular updates on the spend going through this account.

3. Use management by exception

After you have agreed a plan of action with the person you are delegating the responsibility to, ask them to update you if anything doesn’t go to plan. This way you will be involved anything deviates from the ideal plan. You can then be involved with contingency planning as necessary.

4. Build in controls

There are several controls which you can build into a project or responsibility – for example, spend or budget limit, project milestones, key performance indicators… Have the person that you delegate to provide regular feedback and reports on how progress to date.

5. Have a contingency plan

Despite yours and others best intentions,sSometimes stuff doesn’t always go to plan. However, I know from my supply chain management days, it always pays to have a contingency plan in place. For example, when I knew that a warehouse was going to have its stock management system updated, near to the date of a promotion on a brand. I made sure that I got the stock for the promotion into and out of the warehouse early, eliminating the risk of any problems with the  system upgrade.

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