The “Whys” of Delegating

“I’ll just do it myself.”

This is a common refrain among managers, whether directly stated or inferred. It’s more common with newer managers and micromanagers for essentially the same reason: by the time I explain exactly what I need, I could have done it myself.

The new manager is fearful that the project won’t be done correctly, while the micromanager thinks that no one can do it as well as she can.

Regardless of the reason, the outcome is the same. When you do it yourself instead of delegating to a team member, over the long term it will backfire on you.

A key skill for managers is the ability to delegate a project and not hover over it. Of course, you can give guidance, but when you cross the line and start doing it yourself, you’re undermining both you and your employee.

Intellectually, you know it’s important to delegate. Knowing why it’s important may give you more incentive to let go.

+ When you assign something to a co-worker, it gives that person the opportunity to grow in the job.

+ It gives the manager the opportunity to see what the co-worker’s potential is.

+ It gives the manager the opportunity to actually manage.

+ It gives the manager the space to do the important things that aren’t getting done because she’s doing someone else’s job.

+ It provides the manager with a growth opportunity to advance in his job, too.

These key reasons are a good start for those who have trouble letting go. Start with something small and work your way up to bigger initiatives. There may be some stumbles along the way, but over time, it’s a win-win.

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