Many new managers know about delegation based on how they were (or were not) delegated to before becoming a manager. This is not always a positive or productive experience and when it gets translated and implemented into the new managers skill set the same old issues and problems managers have with delegating just continue to live on.Delegation is not a dirty word. Delegation does not mean giving away power; it empowers others, can help managers complete work, it helps succession planning… consider delegation as a friend or valuable tool.Some managers are often threatened by the idea of delegating; thinking that if they give more work to others then the manager will be seen as having nothing to do. Freeing up time could result in more time for completing other work, more time to ensure the team are engaged, more time to plan ahead rather than just catching up, to be more productive.Another common reason for not delegating is that it will result in others surpassing the manager who did the delegating. “If I give them tasks and challenging work, then they’ll be better than me and get promoted past me.” Well, maybe, but the most likely outcome is that the manager will also be promoted and the successful employee will step into the manager’s role, succession planning in action.Delegation RoadblocksWhen we understand why a manager won’t (or feels they cannot) delegate we can then get to the heart of an issue and address what could be some very real issues that affect productivity, motivation, morale.Here’s quite a lengthy list of reasons why don’t managers delegate:
Fear that someone might be able to do the task better.
Jealously of others who are capable.
Fear of becoming redundant if they delegate (or teach) someone aspects of their job.
Concern that they will have nothing to do it they give the task away.
Arrogance (maybe) or the belief they can do the job better.
Fear and/or unwilling to give over some authority.
Don’t know what to delegate.
Don’t know how to delegate.
Do not trust the team.
Fail to see, or acknowledge, that delegating is a dynamic and cost-effective tool for employee development.
Concern that if the task or job is not done well, they will be to blame.
Unsure who gets the praise if the task is done well.
Entrenched in the idea that “if you want something done, do it yourself”.
The tasks are enjoyable so they are not shared or delegated to others.
This list has been devised from years of training supervisors and managers and getting to the heart of why they do not delegate. When managers do identify their own roadblocks to delegating, the opportunity to explore strategies and options to move forward and be successful at delegating are far more accessible.When (& When Not) to Delegate Let’s start with, when a manager should not delegate:
When an employee is new, unskilled and still getting a feel for the current role.
When an employee is reluctant to participate in their own planning and productivity in their work area.
When an employee is reluctant to take responsibility for their own planning and productivity.
When an employee clearly is not comfortable or confident in a particular task.
Case Study:Many years ago, an administration officer I was responsible for supervising made it very clear that she did not want any more responsibility or tasks; she was not seeking to climb any career ladders, nor develop any new skills. She was more than content to just come to work, do her work, engage with her work mates; she had a life beyond work and she was happy with the balance! She was absolutely brilliant at her job and got on well with everyone. She was just not interested in taking on more than she needed to. The lesson: Sometimes we gotta leave things alone!So, when could a manager consider delegating:
When there is not enough time PLUS someone else has the time (got to have both here).
When delegating will provide an opportunity for someone in the team to stand out.
When there is a clear chance to provide training and development for a team member.
When someone has the skills already and can easily do the task.
To show confidence in the team.
To lift the motivation of team members.
Advantages and Benefits of DelegationThe advantages of delegating are found at many levels: the organisation; the team; and for the individual manager!The advantages of delegation for the organisation include helping:
the organisation increase and improve their reputation as an employer of choice.
ensure continuity through smoother succession planning.
Delegation advantages for the team members include:
Skills development and enhancement
Increased loyalty as there are career growth opportunities
Decreased delays for those waiting on you, the manager, to make decisions or take actions
Increased and improved motivation and job satisfaction
Advantages of delegation for the manager include:
Increased available time for more strategic thinking and development opportunities for the manager, the team and the organisation
More, of what the manager is responsible for, can be achieved
In the manager’s absence, the work will still be done
The manager’s reputation will improve as being a trusting manager and someone who invests in the development of the team
The manager’s own career progression will be enhanced
Knowing what is involved in delegating and identifying roadblocks and barriers to delegating and overcoming them are keys to management success. As the skills and confidence of the manager improve knowing when and when not to delegate becomes easier. Delegating, when done well, results in the manager having a stronger sense of security: the team are engaged, enthusiastic and they see the manager as supportive and giving of opportunities.