I vividly remember the first time that I delegated a piece of work to someone else.  It was to a lovely lady who was assisting me as I’d moved on to a new consulting role.  The first piece of work was for her to put together a presentation for me.

You might think that a fairly simple task, but I felt really uncomfortable asking for her help, and struggled with how much to explain and how much to let her get on with it her way.

I was also a bit of a control freak and had specific standards and “ways” of how my presentations should be!  Apparently, I also had very small hand-writing, which didn’t help either!

But with a bit of knowledge about why I was feeling the way I was, together with understanding the benefits of effective delegation to me and the other person, we worked out a great system between us!

I’ve practised a lot more since those days, and delegated significantly more complex requirements.  But what if I’d stayed uncomfortable, controlling and reluctant to delegate?  What happens to the person on the receiving end?  There are times when delegating a task or to someone who isn’t ready or trained isn’t appropriate, but if they are, what issues can a manager be causing by not delegating effectively, or at all?

These are some of the problems that I would envisage for the person not getting the opportunity from their manager’s delegation:

  • Lack of skills development
  • Lack of career enhancement
  • Reduced opportunity to build personal strengths and learn from experience
  • Lack of confidence for taking on new goals and actions in the future
  • De-motivation and low employee engagement through lack of encouragement for autonomy and creativity
  • Decreased job satisfaction – and the possibility they will look for advancement and challenge elsewhere
  • Lack of respect of the manager, as they may feel mistrusted
  • Reduced or no loyalty to the manager and the organisation
  • Lack of commitment to the team’s goals
  • Little time with the manager as they are too busy with their workload
  • When the manager is absent, little gets done and the team’s productivity is negatively affected (which in turn can also have an effect on bonuses and rewards for the individual)

Effective delegation is critical for a commitment to success and ensuring the personal growth of your team members.  It helps encourage commitment to exceed expectations and reach their full potential, but also allows you to make the best use of your time and skills.

Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of some badly delegated tasks, or asked to do something you didn’t have the skills or knowledge to complete well?  As a manager, delegation can sometimes feel it could be more hassle than it’s worth, but the long-term benefits will far outweigh the issues when your leadership skills ensure you delegate effectively (not just for you, but for all those involved).

Click HERE for more information on how executive coaching could help you develop self-awareness to enhance the communication skills and leadership skills needed for effective delegation.  Or contact us for an initial discussion on how we might be able to help you or your team.



  1. admin

    Thanks to Adrian Martorana on Linked In:
    Nice article…have also come across problems in learning how to delegate according to different cultures.

  2. admin

    Thanks to Andrea Barry on Linked In:

    Good honest article Karen. It is really hard to let go and likewise it can make the task harder to progress if a manager or colleague won’t let you get on with it in your own way.

    What is equally frustrating is a colleague given a task (not necessarily by me) and has constantly badgered me for help and information. I think it is important to make it crystal clear what the parameters are for seeking assistance and defining the task. Too many times I have ended up doing the work but not getting the credit. It can create relationship problems between colleagues; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t help them. Eventually I just gave short responses and instead of giving the information told them where they could be looking for it.

  3. admin

    Thanks to T McCloskey on Linked In:

    First obvious one for me is that the individual who won’t delegate becomes a bottleneck in the business, decisions can’t be made and others live in a very uncomfortable position that things can’t progress whilst the bottleneck is trying to control everything. Clearly there needs to be an element of trust in individuals to ensure that things are done correctly, but there also needs to be the humility that the controller does not always know the best way to do things, sometimes others in the team can bring a new angle or idea. Once the fine art of delegation is embraced then, I believe, all parties will get a lot more out of their work.

  4. Pingback: How to Delegate Better to Boost Business Efficiency - Jessica Lauren Vine

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