Delegating vs. Dictating: Understanding the Difference

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Delegating is defined as sending or authorizing an individual to do something as a representative. Dictating is defined as to prescribe or lay down authoritatively. While both can be used in leadership roles, it’s important to know the difference between the two and which one will make or break you in a leadership role.

It has been said that a happy worker is a productive worker. While dictating what needs to be done can get the point across, it is very possible you will get a poor reaction or response from your employees. You may be in an authoritative position, but it doesn’t mean you need to demand things. Dictating can make your employees feel like your hand is too strong and could also cause them to resent you as a manager or leader which only keeps things moving downward.

Delegating within your position shows employees you know their abilities and performance level and that you thoroughly thought about which tasks would be the best fit for them. Waving an iron fist doesn’t impress anyone, especially those who are working for you. Keeping a firm, but soft hand will keep your employees motivated and hard-working through and through.

Dictating and delegating can be easily confused, but the line that differentiates the two is very thing. Delegating tasks encourages an open line of communication, working together and an understanding of what’s to come in the future. Dictating, on the other hand, mostly comes off disparaging and harsh. A positive outlook on your leadership techniques will keep the workplace pleasant and productive.

When delegating, it usually involves a clear objective, an understanding of what’s to come, and what steps to take to achieve the objective. Managing tasks or assignments with no clear understanding of what to do or why you’re doing it could lead to these items being brushed off by employees. The point of leading is to do just that; lead your team in the right direction with positive guidance and the proper tools to promote growth.

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