Failing to delegate
Despite the many benefits, some managers do not practice delegation. The most common reason is “It’s faster to do it myself!” Delegating may initially take additional time, patience, and follow-up. Given the varying developmental levels of employees, it is always worth the effort!
There are many excuses to avoid delegating. Most of them reveal a fear of delegating or convey a lack of trust in the abilities of others. Frequently heard excuses include:
- “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.”
- “What if someone makes a mistake? I’m still responsible!”
- “I’m the manager; I’m supposed to have control over everything.”
- “If someone else can do my job, I won’t be needed anymore.”
Thinking that you can or need to do it all is a critical mistake.
Failure to delegate tasks may:
- Affect your performance and how it is viewed.
- Make your job more difficult.
- Cause you and your team to become inefficient and disorganized.
- Result in good employees under-performing or leaving, because they are not challenged.
- Impact the service provided to your customers in a negative way.
- Waste valuable resources including employees, time, and money.
Ineffective delegation practices might be indicated if you:
- Fail to complete tasks or projects by the required deadline, on a regular basis.
- Find employees resisting or failing to accept delegated responsibilities.
- Find employees routinely referring minor decisions to you.
- Take over, or take back, delegated assignments.
- Experience high turnover of good employees.
When employees resist or fail to accept additional responsibility, it may be that they:
- Do not have the skills or ability to do the job.
- Lack confidence and fear criticism if they don’t meet your expectations.
- Feel that it’s easier to ask, rather than make a decision on their own.
- Have received no recognition in the past for a job well done.
Whether or not an employee accepts delegated responsibility depends primarily on you. Examine your actions. Do you:
- Invest time in training and developing employees?
- Communicate expectations and address performance issues?
- Provide ongoing feedback [strengths and opportunities] regarding job performance?
- Share important information?
- Provide support and build confidence in others?
- Encourage employees to think for themselves?
- Recognize and celebrate both effort and success?
If you consistently demonstrate these actions, you are setting the foundation for successful delegation. Most employees will respond positively to additional responsibility if they are confident they can handle the job and know that their efforts will be appreciated.