Delegation – the risks of not doing it!

Posted on 19th September 2018

On our courses we cover in great depth the art of delegation so that it is beneficial to both parties; and we cover how to avoid some of the classic pitfalls. However, in this blog (as you might expect from the Head of L&D) I am going to focus on why so many people who could delegate fail to. And the damage that this can do to people’s development and potential progression.

Delegation has many definitions, but in its simplest form it is entrusting and empowering someone to do something in your place. That may be a task, it may be attending a meeting or it may be making a decision. By far one of my favourite descriptions is a very old one from none other than Franklin Roosevelt (26th President of the USA) who said:

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

Understandably the language is very old fashioned, but the message is perfect, and highlights the two main elements: picking the right person to delegate to AND allowing them to get on with it – so not micro-managing.

Delegation done properly allows the delegator to focus on other priorities. And it helps to develop the person being delegated to, so they can develop new skills and experience.

In an economy and society where everyone says they are constantly busy and pushed for time, why wouldn’t you delegate when you can? However, so many people fail to delegate and continue to remain overwhelmed with all they need to do; even when there are people who are both capable and willing to help.

Failing to delegate can be very harmful to a business. For the person not delegating, they potentially become stressed about their work load and performance drops. Or they are working on areas that do not use their key skills – so not prioritising. Equally, when that person is away (planned or otherwise) then no one can cover that workload.

For those that they could be delegating to, people can feel that they are not trusted or capable, and so they lose their motivation.

Over the years we have come across many reasons why people do not delegate, and here are just a few:

  • You haven’t got time to delegate!
  • It means ‘letting go’
  • The worry that the person you delegate to might do it better
  • You don’t trust others to do the job, or at least to the standard I would do it
  • You like feeling so busy and important
  • Information is power
  • You quite enjoy doing it yourself
  • You like getting the credit for doing it yourself

If you are looking at the list above and some (or all of them) you can relate to, the good news is that none of them are a good reason to not delegate. With some training we can help you to delegate more and get all the benefits from that.

Emma Wynne Character
Written by:
Emma Wynne
Managing Director
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