Delegation is one of the core aspects of corporate leadership and if done well, helps in boosting the productivity of both the leader and his team. Every time a professional goes higher up on the career ladder, his responsibilities increase which naturally ups the amount of work & tasks at hand. If a leader tries to execute everything in individual capacity it can lead him to get frustrated, burnt out & stagnated. It could also lead his team to be highly incompetent and could also handicap them from exploring their capabilities. In this regard, if one is observant, there are numerous advantages of delegating work. But, despite knowing these why must a leader be averse to the idea of delegation?
Here are the top 5 reasons why are leaders not delegating, and why they must do it. By the end of it, you will realise that if you do delegate you will be able to enjoy the many advantages of delegating work than when you don’t at all!
It takes too much time to explain
Delegation requires giving the subordinate complete clarity on the task. This may include sharing objective, expected result and instructions to execute the task. Since this process is time-consuming, it is easier for a leader to execute the task himself in a shorter time than to get it done through a subordinate & investing perhaps twice as much time.
Solution: This may seem as the apt solution in the short term, but may cause severe repercussions for the leader’s career advancement, team’s growth and output generation capacity. Invest time and efforts in building the potential of your subordinates and you will see how they propel your growth automatically.
You are a perfectionist
Most leaders feel that the quality of the output will dip if a subordinate does it. As a result, they do it themselves wasting their time and energy; which could have been leveraged on something more meaningful.
Solution: If the quality of the delegated task is even 80-90% in alignment with your expectation you should be reassured and know that your subordinate will get there soon. Focus on giving him feedback to produce better quality work rather than you working on it in totality.
Effective delegation requires investing time, energy and resources on the subordinates through constant inputs and feedback from the leader. If a subordinate quits the organization after this exhaustive process of being trained; it leads to the leaders’ efforts in vain. This is another reason why most leaders avoid delegating.
Solution: Do not let the fear of people quitting not deter you from getting work churned out from them. If nothing else, they’ll fondly remember you as a leader who recognized their capability and took a keen interest in developing them. Additionally, every step of delegation is a new learning even for the leader.
You enjoy doing those tasks
Most leaders get attached to their tasks and find it fun doing them. Instead of delegating these simple tasks to a subordinate and focusing on difficult ones which only they can execute; they continue being attached to these trivial jobs. This results in both the leader and the team not progressing.
Solution: Aim for the next level. If you can’t get over your attachment to the work at your level; you yourself will be a barrier to your progress.
You feel you have to protect yourself
Most leaders feel that if a subordinate performs better than they did; it will taint their impression. It may prove that the subordinate is better than they are. This sense of insecurity prevents them from delegating & empowering their subordinates for preserving the title of ‘I’m the Best.’
Solution: Delegate as much work and responsibility as you must. Don’t keep everything to yourself and Make peace with the fact that a subordinate may be better at certain skills than you are. Your job is to capitalize those skills to your advantage to churn out quality work and not to suppress his skills for your own ‘feel good factor.’
Whether it is for lack of time or seeking power – inability to delegate will only slow down your prospects of flourishing as a professional. Understand the advantages of delegating work if you want to be a leader who is looked up to. Besides, a leader who hasn’t managed to empower and up-skill his subordinate; technically hasn’t been able to empower himself. So, get over the fear of delegating work to your direct reports.
A version of this article was first published on People Matters.