Why You Suck at Delegation

Jul 12, 2021
Why You Suck at Delegation

Delegation is a managerial technique referring to the assignment of a task to an associate—along with the correlating authority to accomplish it. It’s a revolutionary scheme that streamlines projects, tasks and results. That’s why it is an important skill, especially when you’re leading a team. But have you been noticing a lot of slip-ups in the tasks you’ve delegated lately? Has there been a lot of mistakes and misunderstanding, forcing you to push back deadlines? These are only two of the many red flags that might alert you about some faulty principles you’ve been unconsciously committing. Let’s discuss a few!


You don’t determine what you delegate


Before you start delegating, you have to determine your own responsibilities. Make a list of what you need to do and categorize them. Which ones must you do yourself? Which ones do you need help with? In this phase, it’s important to remember that just because you know how to do everything, doesn’t mean you should. You want to delegate because you want tasks and projects done more efficiently—and deliver results faster. So think about this step thoroughly before proceeding to delegate. 


You don’t know how to choose the right person for the job


A big part of delegation is knowing who’s who—knowing your team. Learn their skills, personality and attitude. A lot of mistakes occur when you pair the wrong person with the wrong task. One of the reasons why you’re having trouble with projects is probably because the person you assigned a task to doesn’t know how to do it, or doesn’t even have the disposition to try. This is the part where you assess your team, and delegate tasks accordingly. 


You didn’t clarify the desired results


How can an associate complete projects with quality if they’re not entirely sure of what you want them to do, and how you want it to be done? This is the part where communication plays a big role—and you don’t even have to be eloquent about it. You just need to be simple and direct. Beyond giving them the directions for the job at hand, clearly let them know the results you expect. Let your associates know their responsibilities and give them a timeline. Otherwise, they might end up doing a really poor job that you eventually have to revise yourself. 


You failed to follow up


You don’t want to follow up just to check on the progress. You want to follow up because you also want to assess the need for assistance. This is the part where you ask the associate how he’s dealing with the work—is he experiencing any problems? Is he able to cope with the demands of the project? He might end up caving in and delegate the task back to you or to someone else who isn’t compatible with it. This is the part where you analyze your team’s capabilities, and where you come in to help or guide. You don’t want to micromanage everything, but part of your job is to make sure that your team is actually up to the task.


Have you committed any of the mistakes I pointed out above? Or does someone come to mind? Delegation is both a science and an art. It’s a tricky thing to master. What’s important is that you are aware of what you’re doing, and you’re able to assess how well you’re doing it. Thanks for stopping by. Come back if you want to know more!