5 Common Delegation Mistakes That Most Managers Make

December 6, 2012

When running our training programmes for managers, many of them identify delegation as a key area for development. Here are the most common mistakes managers make.

1. They don’t delegate at all.

There are many reasons for this; lack of trust, need to control everything, the time it takes to train somebody else, the worry that they won’t have anything to do! The theory is that the person at the lowest level in the company with the ability to undertake the task correctly should do it. So have a go and see the results.

2. They don’t explain why

As well as the fact that there is a human need to know why, there is also the benefit that if something unusual the individual will have a better chance of dealing with the issue on the spot. So when you delegate the task explain the value of it. One of our trainers came across a delegate who prepared a report every month for two years before they discovered that no one reading or using it! When people feel the task is actually contributing to the success of the team / organisation they tend to gain greater satisfaction from completing it.

3. They don’t delegate whole tasks
As well as the reasons quoted above, people will be more motivated when they experience the challenge and satisfaction of being responsible for the whole task.

4. They insist that the task only be done their way
Research shows us that most people prefer to be autonomous, in others words they like to be left to get on with it. This means that they want you as manager to let them find the best way for them. Of course there are systems and processes which have wider implications but if the only reason is that you are still trying to control everything then STOP, LET GO & GET OUT OF THEIR WAY! If the result is the same and once they have perfected their technique, it takes the same amount or time then back off! Who knows they may even do it better than you.

5. They claim any credit and place blame when it goes wrong!

This is one of the worst offenses a manager can make and it’s also dangerous! First of all it is totally de-motivating for your people and will actually make them less productive. Secondly and most important of all, you are leaving yourself open to the mercies of a dissatisfied employee. As trainers we sometimes hear stories of managers who have claimed credit for someone else’s work only for that employee to look for an opportunity to embarrass their manager through a deliberate mistake in future work. Imagine a board meeting and you are making a presentation and you haven’t spotted this deliberate mistake – think on…

There are so many benefits for delegating and doing it properly. Avoid these common mistakes and make your job easier and much more enjoyable.

Many thanks

Scott Rumsey

Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training


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