Delegation (or passing down) is the partnership of authority and responsibility to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. It is one of the core concepts of leadership. However the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work. Delegation empowers a subordinate to make decisions, i.e. it is a shift of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. Delegation, if properly done, is not abdication. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction, and review of delegated work. In general, delegation is good and can save money and time, help in building skills, and motivate people. Poor delegation, on the other hand, might cause frustration, and confusion to all the involved parties.
Delegation is probably THE most powerful tool a leader owns. Delegation INCREASES individual productivity in proportion to the number of people to whom leaders can delegate…it increases the power and productivity of any organization. So why is it… many leaders are so terrible at it?
Of course being a Maxwellian type…John Maxwell has some ideas in his book Developing Leaders Around You:
2: Lack of confidence in others
3: Lack of ability to train others
4: Personal enjoyment of the task
6: Inability to find someone else to do it
7: Lack of time
8: An “I do it best” mentality
I would offer… perhaps it is also a lack of vision. If a leader does not fully understand, embrace, and vision cast where the organization is going…it is so easy to live and embrace the status quo. The “same crap, different day” attitude that many organizations and many boss perpetuate–why delegate…this is the way we have always done it!
Develop and embrace something bigger and better…and bring your team mates along–if nothing else you will be developing them, their abilities, and the next generation of leaders. Think beyond yourself!