Why don’t managers delegate more? There are good reasons
and not-so-good reasons, but here are some that I came up with.
They’ve discovered the hard way that delegating is not always the
best way to assign work. Many managers don’t delegate at all because
they tried it and got burned.
They don’t know how to figure out when delegating is the best
choice. Delegating is only one way to assign work. It will be
successful only if the person you’re delegating to has both the ability and the
willingness to work without supervision. This is task specific. A team member
may be able to handle one job but not a different one.
They don’t know how to act after they delegate. As your team
members develop and learn to handle more things on their own, you have to change
the way you supervise by gradually easing up on your control and allowing them
to do things their way. Giving up control is hard to do, even when it’s the best
thing and you’ll have to learn how to act when you do it.
They don’t’ understand that delegation is a goal, not a default
strategy. Ideally, every team member should be skilled enough and
motivated enough that you can delegate any task to them. No one ever achieves
that, but part of your job is using coaching, instruction, and feedback to help
every team member move toward that level of competence and willingness.
Boss’s Bottom Line
The more you can delegate effectively, the more likely it is that your team
will be productive and happy and the easier your job will be. It’s worth the
effort to learn how and get it