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Don’t just say you delegate – Do it!

One of the biggest mistakes we can do as leaders is when we delegate with our words but show with our actions that we do not. This can have far wider effect on the organisation than what you first think.

Admittedly, I have been on both side of this fence. I have delegated tasks and responsibilities only to control how I think it shall be done. I have also been put in positions of responsibility but not felt that I have been trusted to do it. As much as I want to apologise for when I have done this to others, I have been sad when someone has done this to me. Neither situation is good.

Here are three things that will happen if you do not delegate… for real.

It creates bottlenecks

If your organisation is of any size, it will be impossible for you to keep track of everything. If you are not delegating properly, you will have to always be around for the business to move forward. This is of course unsustainable for any longer period.

It creates confusion

Let us not underestimate the effects that this has to the over all efficiency of the organisation. If you only delegate halfheartedly, people can easily be confused to whom is responsible for what. When people are confused about responsibilities, how can you expect that the right person takes the right decision at the right time? I have seen several examples of decisions that has bounced back and forth because of unclear responsibilities.

It holds people back

If you are saying that you delegate but still feel that you have to meddle, you should ask yourself how this makes people feel. So far in my career, there has never been anything worse than when I feel I have been given responsibility but not been trusted to do it. My natural reaction is: “Well, do it yourself then”. This is not the best reaction but I believe it is a common one. This is of course not the response you would like to have if motivated and productive people is high on your agenda.

As you can see, failing to delegate well can have detrimental and sometimes devastating effect on people and organisations. All of us want to do a good job and feel valued for what we do. Delegating for real send the signal that you trust, value and depend on those around you.

When people have trusted me with important tasks, I have enjoyed work the most and felt that I have contributed to the goals of the company. It is at these times that I have done my utmost for a timely and excellent result. So let’s start delegating with more than just words. Let’s start delegating for real.

Share your story of good, or bad, delegation. Write a comment or send me a message.