Sometimes tasks and responsibilities may become so overwhelming that you will need someone to assist you with sensitive activities that may require decision-making. At such times deciding who to engage might be tricky considering the weight of the role and the consequences that may follow if you don’t get it right.
Delegating someone to carry out an assignment implies that that person is not originally permanent in that position and as such, may not have the immediate and full awareness of that job but is expected to perform desirably on that job. It is even more challenging where there is no formal structure to guide the delegator on who to get involved, and the selection criteria to follow, and the delegate on the performance acceptance criteria. Hence the need for a good understanding of delegation and its issues to create an efficient system.
When an incompetent staff is assigned a duty, that staff will most likely fail unless for a supportive team, willing to bridge the gaps, but for how long will that team hold up? To avoid a square peg in a round hole delegators should do more than just appointing. They should investigate to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their subordinates, as well as their skills, knowledge, and abilities to align their responsibilities with their competencies for better results. Problem-solving and critical-thinking, decision-making, and quality-perception abilities are common attributes of successful people in managerial positions.
One way to track the abilities of employees is through succession planning, where the length of service, professional qualifications and work experience of these employees are regularly updated for decision-making. So that when the need arises, the most eligible candidate is delegated to take up a task that matches their skillset based on the information captured overtime on the succession planning database.
Delegating a task to someone who has the competency to perform that task but does not have the personality to navigate successfully around stakeholders could lead to troubled waters. To be successful, a delegate needs to have the charisma to influence stakeholders positively because people are first, among all things, emotional beings, they connect with one another mainly emotionally. That is why it is crucial to delegate sensitive tasks to people with the right attitude to command the respect and followership needed for the desired results. For instance, an agile work environment will require someone with a combination of emotional, creative, intellectual, and cultural personalities. In fact most work situations strive when led by people with the creative, political, authentic, cultural, managerial, and courteous personality-pack. On the other hand, difficult people struggle to survive where there are conflicting interests because they lack the necessary conflict management skills. Prideful, unteachable, and uncooperative delegates are more likely to fail in team-based organizations than their sociable counterparts.
The leadership style adopted by the management of an organization defines the direction of that organization. An organization that upholds the cardinal principle of equity, fairness and justice in its delegation structure will create a trust-based work atmosphere where employees do not compete for position and recognition. Only the best, by that organizations standards is delegated. Employees are always aware of what is expected of them on the job. Such a work environment will not have mediocres who attain positions by affiliation, favoritism or prejudice. In such a work environment employees don’t get choked with work because they are always seen as the best, and their colleagues don’t feel deprived for the same reason, as is work is delegated equally among equals.
Another thing to look out for is ineffective communication, which could also be a problem where an organization’s communication structure lacks the ability to effectively convey desired work expectations to delegates, and could stifles success from the assignees end because, in the first place, they do not know what to do.
Also if the delegator is a control-freak, their domineering behavior may frustrate a professionally sound delegate who desires some fresh air and autonomy to do their job, which may lead to poor results. So delegates should be allowed to do their jobs as long as there is ample expectation clarity of the desired outcomes.
Where there is doubt about the abilities of an assignee, tasks should be dished out in bits, starting with the lighter tasks and progressing steadily as the delegate succeeds. However, there could be mistakes from delegates, but how management attends to such miscalculations may affect progress, so managers should tread with caution so as not to send the wrong signal and hamper opportunities for delegates to explore, learn and impact positively.
Finally, managers, directors, and all other delegators must have system thinking abilities to understand the internal workings of their organization; to guide their decision on who to delegate and in what situation. For knowledge of competency, personality, and management structure is optimized contextually.
Universal Class Avoiding Delegation Issues Retrieved June 1 2022 https://www.universalclass.com/articles/business/avoiding-delegation-issues.htm
Management Training Specialists 2019, How To Solve The Main Delegation Problems That Exist Retrieved June 01 2022 https://www.mtdtraining.com/blog/how-to-solve-the-main-delegation-problems-that-exist.htm
Nawaz S. (2020, November 12) You’re Delegating. It’s Not Working. Here’s Why. Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2020/11/youre-delegating-its-not-working-heres-why
Trenttenero S. (2021, July 18) Human Beings Are First and Foremost Emotional Creatures Psychreg https://www.psychreg.org/human-beings-are-emotional-creatures/
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.