Every manager knows that they need to delegate – and there are numerous resources with information on how to delegate more effectively. What is not discussed enough, however, is what should and what should not be delegated. Before we begin, let us look at what the role of a manager is. Management can very broadly be divided into two functions:

  1. Directing and developing people; and
  2. strategy planning, development and cascading.

Generally speaking, it is important to delegate tasks that will lead to number 1 and free up time for number 2. Conversely, one should not delegate number 2 tasks, as those are key responsibilities. Do delegate:

  1. Routine tasks – These are tasks required to be done regularly, such as writing a report at the end of a project. Make sure such tasks are necessary. If not, scrap them.
  2. Tasks others could do better – As discussed in a previous article (The art of promotion), managers need to trust the skills and abilities of their team members. Do not compete; if they can do something better than you, rather devote your time to other things.
  3. Tasks good for development – Delegate tasks to team members who would benefit from the additional skill development. If you are already good at completing a certain task, let someone else have a chance to try it.
  4. Whole tasks – Delegate an entire task rather than dividing it up into pieces. This will enable the team member to see the development and outcome and accept full accountability.
  5. Time-consuming tasks – As a manager, you should be managing and strategizing; so delegate tasks that preventing  you from doing your job.

Do not delegate:

  1. Tasks for which you are responsible – Do not delegate strategy and planning. Also, do not delegate a task that someone has asked you to do personally. If you want to delegate this task, first discuss it with the person who requested that you do it.
  2. Ill-defined tasks – When delegating make sure the person understands exactly what the task is. Being ambiguous leads to a waste of time.
  3. Discipline, praise and recognition – Discipline is confidential, so keep it that way. Also do not pass praise off to a co-worker. Employees deserve the respect of hearing praise from their manager. It will make them feel more appreciated.
  4. Crises – In times of crisis, your authority and expertise are required. It is unfair to delegate this responsibility to someone who is not properly equipped to deal with the situation.
  5. Performance appraisals – Never ever have your employees write their own self-assessment and simply sign it off. The development of the individual – which closely relates to the best interests of the organisation – is your responsibility

Sources:McCarthy, D. (2016). 10 things a manager should never delegate. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/manager-delegation-job-mistakes-2275897Marr, B. (2015). 7 tasks successful leaders never delegate. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-tasks-successful-leaders-never-delegate-bernard-marr/Stack, L. (2015). The 5 critical things that a good manager never, ever delegates. Retrieved from https://www.tlnt.com/the-5-critical-things-that-a-good-manager-never-ever-delegates-3/

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