Delegative management

The delegative manager is certainly the management style best suited to our times.

How does it differ from participative management?

What are its advantages and disadvantages?

Which situations does it lend itself best to?


Delegative management is certainly the management style best suited to our times.

How does it differ from participative management?

What are its advantages and disadvantages?

Which situations does it lend itself best to?

How did it come about, and why is it more popular today?

Why do we need to be vigilant when using it, and know how to use other management styles?


General description of the delegative manager

Now that participative management has reached certain limits, it’s time to bring responsibility back into the workplace. Faced with employees’ rights, duties are reaffirmed in various forms. The result is delegative management, in other words the delegation of responsibilities.

A comprehensive study on management (comparative results from over 8,000 people) and the profiles of managers and executives will also give you a better idea of who uses delegative management styles and which skills are most developed according to the level of responsibility occupied.

To assess yourself and identify how much delegative management you potentially use with your teams, you can take the Assess Manager management test, which also values other management styles and measures your degree of maturity in a range of management skills.

The culture of responsibility and delegation of authority

Extract from the book “Le management à porter demain” on the delegative manager:

Since the financial crisis of 2008 or thereabouts, the watchword has been a return to empowerment. This has led to the emergence of the “liberated company” movement: what can you do for the company to help it do better, so that you can reap the benefits? Without going into theliberated company movement, which could be the subject of a book in itself, delegated management is a movement to give employees more responsibility, which companies have needed in order to remain competitive:
Objectives are passed on, freedom of means is adapted to employees’ skills, constraints are set, monitoring replaces control.
In this way, a form of freedom of action and decision-making is conveyed, while controlling the achievement of objectives and costs. Project-based working is developing, along with agility. The fragmentation of structures is increasing, with more complex ramifications driven by digitalisation, networking and remote working, increased internationalisation, etc.
Instead of “what do you think”, the new phrases emerging in companies are “what do you propose”, to move from a critical state to a solution-oriented state, and to a state of empowerment.

Le management à porter demain

Positive points of delegative management

Delegative management sets a precise framework in terms of the objectives to be achieved, and gives latitude in terms of the means. In this way, the employee who is entrusted with an assignment feels valued, as the goal to be achieved is clear and so are the constraints. Their creativity and commitment will be the key to their success; they hold all the cards.

Limits of delegative management

If we think that this model is virtuous, like all management methods, it has certain limits:

1. The development of stress in the company, associated with the weight of responsibility:
When employees are delegated full projects, full responsibilities, they receive or experience a certain amount of pressure. “You have my trust, don’t let me down”. Responsibility leads to total commitment, a desire to do well and to live up to the trust placed in them by their manager.
The development of burnouts is certainly linked to this management style, which can put too much pressure on certain employees who are so happy with the trust placed in them.

The second limitation is the rise in skills to the point of total autonomy of certain employees who choose to work independently.
2. The departure of the most competent employees (turnover “since you’re asking me to do your thinking for you, I can no longer see your added value, I’ve learnt so much that I can become your competitor or sub-contractor”). This trend is accelerating the move towards self-employment and freelance administration. The delegated model is contributing to the accelerated and virtuous development of employees’ skills and their desire to develop these skills independently. The growth rate of freelance workers is the highest it has ever been. Companies are making increasing use of hyper-skilled labour on a subcontracting basis (service contracts).

Situations suitable for delegated management

Delegative management is particularly well suited to competent and motivated employees. It can also be used to express a manager’s confidence in an employee, in order to help them become more autonomous

Where do you find delegative managers?

They are particularly common in support services (finance, HR, quality, etc.) and in the service sector. Project managers in cross-functional roles are also particularly likely to adopt this management style, as a complement to participative management.
Generally speaking, start-ups make the greatest use of delegative management.

If you liked this page, you can find the author and many other subjects of reflection on management in the book “Le management à porter demain” published by EMS Coach, which details all the managerial skills.

You are a manager. Do you ever use delegative management? Do you never use it? Often?

The free management test gives you a very precise answer, and also shows you the other management styles that you are capable of using, or that you already use.


Delegative management is a management style. It often underpins specific skills and shortcomings

The management test developed by Assess Manager enables you not only to validate whether you potentially use delegative management, but also to measure your delegation skills.

To go further with Assess Manager