Top 5 Mistakes Managers Make: Failing to Delegate

Management Challenge Program Designer Kate McLagan is penning our latest blog series “Top 5 Mistakes Managers Make”. Over the next five weeks, Kate will explore these critical mistakes that managers make in their relationships with their direct reports. Read on for Part 4: Failing to Delegate.

Manager Mistake #4: Failing to Delegate

With today’s emphasis on teamwork, the ability to delegate is critical to the team’s success. Delegation is not task assignment or “dumping”; it involves giving someone the responsibility and authority to do something that is normally part of the manager’s job. Effective delegation requires good communication, clear expectations and goals, and working with the employee to help develop the skills needed to get the job done.

Managers frequently complain that they have too much to do and too little time in which to do it. If not checked, this feeling leads to stress and managerial ineffectiveness. In many cases due to this stress, managers resort to micromanaging. Delegation is not task assignment and it is not “dumping”. Delegating is the ability to know what a person can successfully do next, and is a powerful avenue for developing your employees. Effective delegation cannot occur without a full understanding of responsibility, accountability, and authority. A good delegator establishes with the person what should be done, and lets the individual figure out how it can best be accomplished while setting up the necessary controls to allow for errors and mistakes.

Mastering the art of delegation makes you a much more effective manager, and by matching assignments to an employee’s skills, abilities, and talents, it can be highly motivating. Delegating provides professional growth, personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment – all leading to increased commitment and morale.

Avoid This Mistake:

  • Delegate responsibility, not work
  • Give employees opportunities to be involved and provide input in decision making
  • Ask questions such as: “Any ideas as to how you’ll proceed?”
  • Establish routine checkups – in advance

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