If you sometimes struggle with delegation,the following examples may be familiar to you:
Delegation Failure 1. Your boss has made a team assignment, and each person was given a specific task. You’re good at research, so you get the data collection responsibility. Your colleague, John, is tasked with pulling the pieces together and writing the final report. You know John is not the best writer and you fear the project report will not adequately reflect the group effort. After the meeting, you tell John you would be happy to help him with the final writing. You think you are simply being helpful, but others recognize your need for control.
Delegation Failure 2. You are assisting a community agency with an evening event. Several older women have volunteered to handle the registration process. One is so slow that the line in front of her is getting longer. Finally, you can’t stand it any more, so you suggest she take a break while you speed up her line. She reluctantly gives up her seat at the registration table, but she seems offended instead of grateful. You think you are simply being efficient, but others view you as impatient.
Designation Failure 3. You’re a new boss and are now managing people who are doing what you did previously. You feel your employees don’t always do their jobs as well as you used to do it. You frequently return their work products for additions or revisions. Sometimes it even seems easier to do the task yourself rather than delegate it. You think you are being subtle, but staff recognize your lack of confidence in their work and feel devalued. Your quest for perfection is well known, and it seems like no one can live up to your standards.
Just because you can do something faster and better doesn’t mean that you should. In fact, if you want to be an successful boss, you need to learn to delegate effectively and help your employees be successful.
Delegation is part of managing and mentoring, but it does require discipline. It can easily be undermined by your perfectionism, your impatience, your arrogance, or your need for control. Keep in mind that you became the boss because of your outstanding performance. It is now your job to help others achieve and succeed.