Monday, 30 december 2019 | Redacción CEU
Have you ever heard the saying "if you want something done right, do it yourself"? We are not always aware of them, but there are many prejudices in the work world. Believing that nobody can do something better than a boss is one of them. When a leader leaves an important task in the hands of an employee, some people may think that this professional is avoiding work. It may indeed be happening at times. However, it can also be a sign that the person in charge is precisely doing a good job. Delegating also means sharing responsibilities, and, despite what it may seem, deciding when, how and with whom to do it is one of the most fundamental tasks of an ethical leader.
In the same way that there are bosses who follow "the path of least resistance", by performing only what is essential not to lose their position, there are also bosses who take on all the workload. The latter can be mainly seen in people who occupy a position of responsibility for the first time and in professionals who overly worry about achieving perfection. Naturally, any of these two extremes is counterproductive for both the bosses themselves and their surrounding environment.
Bosses who delegate excessively and without care will not have a real perspective on the work that their employees are doing, not being able thus of playing a good role as leaders. Probably, this negligence or excessive trust will become evident as time goes by, by even leading to serious incidents as a result of it. Even if a manager feels detached from these issues, in no way does that mean that they are not responsible for them.
Behind this carefree approach, there is usually a lack of interest. On the other hand, bosses who do not know how to (or do not want to) delegate may be very dedicated to their work. They are the ones who need to understand that delegating is an important and necessary activity for leaders, and, that only thanks to it will leaders be able to take advantage of the full potential of their teams.
Leaders must be able to make the best of their subordinates in order to ensure that employees have sufficient confidence to develop their special skills and perform the job with success and, when possible, with excellence. This is only achieved when employees enjoy some leeway, when they are more proactive, and when they have the ability to make some decisions. Dependent teams are unproductive, manage time worse and have low self-esteem as well as little motivation.
Having a team with a good level of autonomy is a desirable goal because:
As we mentioned before, delegating does not mean escaping from work or entrusting tasks indiscriminately. When delegating it is important to follow specific guidelines. Here, you can find three key aspects to consider in this process:
Determining who is the most appropriate person to do a job is not easy. To make the right decision, leaders have to know their teams well first. Each employee has unique skills, vision and work style which make them stand out in very different fields and tasks. Leaders have to know how to interpret that scenario, by taking into account not only the profile and potential of their employees, but also the moment and the situation.
Delegating does not mean giving orders. Bosses set and assign tasks, but leaders delegate. What does it mean? When delegating you are sharing a responsibility, that is, the parties who are involved should be aware of what this implies. Good leaders should offer information on the details of the work and on what may be useful to perform it successfully, but they should also know how to make sense of tasks, by explaining what purpose is behind them and what their vision is. Only in this way can employees feel that this is also their goal.
When leaders delegate, they do not wash their hands of the tasks that they assign. The leader's job is to follow and supervise the development of tasks. They should focus their attention more on the results than on the methodology that is used, by avoiding intervention and only doing so when it is strictly necessary. This does not mean that, for example, at follow-up meetings they cannot propose improvement actions to employees. The objective is for employees to feel they have freedom to act, but also that whenever they need support, they can ask their managers for it.
The CEU IAM Business School offers different programs which are focused on the management of people. They all share the same maxim: always maintaining a strong ethical sense in leadership. Ask for further information about our executive training courses: Executive MBA, Executive Development Program, Automotive Sector MDP, Pharma & Biotec MDP (streaming and in-person program) and Expert Program in Management of Food Industries.