Top Delegation Risks and How to Mitigate Them


Delegation Risks
While delegation risks do exist, face it; you simply can’t do it alone.  For new managers especially, it’s hard to assign tasks to others when you are used to doing them yourselves; it’s also hard to trust that others can do the job just the way you think it should be done.

The Risks of Not Delegating
There are short- and long-term delegation risks to both you and your team for trying to carry the load yourself.  For you, there is the management delegation risk of:

  • Overwhelming stress
  • Burnout
  • Decision fatigue
  • Playing at the wrong level – tactical versus strategic
  • Missed targets
  • Inability to make good decisions

For your team, they will soon wonder why they are there and suspect you don’t fully trust their capabilities or do not have the skills to lead them in the right direction.  If these feelings are allowed to grow and fester, your team will disengage and likely seek other opportunities where their contributions will be valued.  Your lack of delegation as a leader can cause a lack of:

  • Skill and career development opportunities for your team
  • Job satisfaction and discretionary effort
  • Respect, trust and loyalty for the company and you as their leader
  • Initiative and confidence
  • Commitment to the team’s goals

Take an Inventory
To delegate more effectively as a manager, begin by taking an inventory of what you and your team need to accomplish over the next 30, 60 and 90 days.  Which of those tasks are you good at?  Which do you not like to do?  Which are simple enough to explain, pass along and still be sure they will be done correctly?

This will give you an initial list of jobs that you can begin to consider delegating to your team.

Assess Your Team
Next, take a good, long, thoughtful look at the members of your team.  Meet with them one-on-one to learn about their talents and aspirations in order to determine what they as individuals like to do and what they are they good at doing.

You need to return to your task list to ask yourself: What are the smaller tasks you can test the team with at first and what are the larger tasks they can grow into?

Identify and Close the Key Gaps
Now are all the tasks covered?  If not, you will need to either train someone on the team to accomplish the task successfully, hire someone with the needed competencies or do it yourself (not the best alternative if you want to raise your profile and effectiveness).

The objective is to assemble the right team for the jobs you need done and hire workers who complement your own skills.  Your goal as manager is to lead a team of workers who are right for the jobs they must do, eager and able to do the jobs well, and open to cooperating with team mates to see that the team works smoothly together.

The Bottom Line
When managers learn to select tasks that others can handle (perhaps even better than you), they can delegate those tasks with a view toward what individual workers can and like to do well, and trust those workers to succeed.  To master the art of delegating, start by identifying the delegation risks you want to avoid.  Then take an inventory, assess your team and take action to close the key gaps.

To learn more about how to avoid delegation risks, download The Top 7 Management Actions to Create Alignment with Goals

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