• Last Update 2024-06-13 18:08:00

Feature - The Power of Delegating



By Timothy A. Edward

In the entrepreneurship business there are three main building blocks. The first block is the stage when everything is quite microscopical, where you do things and micromanage to ensure that everything goes to plan. 

The second stage is where one starts to hire and get things done through others.  At this stage, it is very important to ensure that the right talent comes into the organisation.  In other words, this stage is all about delegation and empowerment. 

In the third stage, as the organisation grows to become a large entity, there is a role shift change that happens.  The leader or the leadership team takes on the role of influencers or role models.  Here the entrepreneur will be forced to reinvent the wheel.  All three building blocks should be in place for business continuity and agility. 

Fear of Delegation

Many managers and leaders fail to enjoy their success and achievements due to their fear of delegating and empowering.  On the one hand, those leaders who micro-manage, end up very stressed out and overwhelmed.  On the other hand, the staff who get micromanaged ceases thinking for themselves. This brings about an imbalance in creative ideas, stagnating the entire organisation.

Such leaders become so emotionally tied up to their organisations that they tend to see themselves as an extension of their organisation and feel that they are doing the heavy lifting in the organisation’s triangulated structure.

Sentiments like, ‘the business is all about me’, ‘none can do it like me’, ‘staff are likely to let me down’ are the subtle sabotages of delegation.  Yet, the truth of the matter is, if the leadership does not strategically delegate and empower, organisational growth will not happen.  Maybe it is because of this fact that the lack of trust in delegating is compared with the worse style of leadership. 

Secrets of Delegation

Stephen R. Covey said, ‘We accomplish all that we do through delegation.’ Delegation steps and skills can be learnt.  At the outset, delegation might look very time-consuming and taxing.  Yet, the secret is, the more we practice the art of delegation, the more cutting-edge and grounded in the business arena we will become.

We need to determine to work on tasks that are top priority for us, whilst delegating other tasks that will be meaningful and challenging according to the willingness and capacity of our staff.  In other words, the right tasks should be delegated to the right people, with the right degree of empowerment, for the delegation to become a winning recipe.  In fact, there are four leadership styles when it comes to effectively empowering, starting with directing, followed by coaching, supporting and the final stage being delegating. The full throttle of delegation can be applied when a team is highly motivated and performing at its peak performance level.

Six Degrees of Delegation

Then, there are six degrees of delegation:

1. Do exactly as I say. Here is the situation and what I have decided.

2. Look into this and inform me about various options. I will then decide.

3. Consider this problem and give me your recommendation on how to proceed. I will then decide and share my decision with you.

4. Explore this issue and make a decision. Check with me before going ahead with the decision.

5. Solve this problem. Consider the following parameters. So long as these parameters are satisfied you can make a decision and go ahead with it. Otherwise, check with me.

6. Here is the problem. I want you to take care of it. I trust your judgement. Here are the resources available for it. Do what it takes to solve it.

(Extracted from www.skillsconverged.com )

In all this, as the first step, the fear of delegation must go. The fear that someone else can do our job better than we can is a bitter pill to swallow. Second, delegate according to the development stage of the individual.  

Yet, the uniqueness of delegating is that we can hire people who are more gifted, brilliant, and talented than us and inspire them with our business vision and mission and build a successful business empire where everyone becomes a winner. This is exactly what great personalities like Walt Disney and all the other business giants have done so brilliantly. Walt was a great innovator. Yet, he hired people who were better at this than himself, and together with them he built the world’s first fully fun classrooms.

(The writer is a Business Psychologist, with specializations in Law and Human Resources Development, with extensive consulting experience with Sri Lankan companies and key business chambers).




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