Business Magazine

What Happens If You Don’t Delegate?

Posted on the 24 January 2011 by Alanhargreaves @RechargeToday

I once asked a colleague of mine how he kept his desk so clean

There was all sorts of clutter on my own desk. I think I knew where everything was, but it didn’t look that great. New piles seemed to sprout like weeds and there was an array of folders parked there like old cars in the bottom paddock. Some had been there for months. Compared to my desk, his looked like a freshly mown lawn.  How did he do it?
The answer was simple enough: Every time a piece of paper landed on his desk, he asked himself ‘Who is the best person to handle this?’. If it wasn’t him, it got sent off to them.

You could argue that that’s about all there is to management.

Deciding what is yours and what is theirs isn’t that hard. There are only two things that should determine your role:

  • one is your responsibilities as a manager
  • the other is the things you are good at

It works best when they are both the same. Often they are, because the things you are good at are usually what got you the job, or made your business successful.
Don’t think this only applies to senior management. If you are running a business as a one-man band, it works best if you do the things you are good at. If you are just starting out on your career, applying your strengths will get you up the ladder quicker than trying to correct your weaknesses. People notice when things are done well. You are likely to get more business or faster promotions as a result.
When you are thinking about your role, make the simple distinction between things that require the application of your strengths and things that require delegation to someone else.

Delegation can take many forms

It can be outsourcing a process that someone else does more efficiently than you or your firm. It might be leaving  all your personal organisation to your personal assistant if they do a superior job in that area. It might be forming a team to execute a project that is a great idea but you cannot do alone.

Delegation is essential to success

Here is what will happen if you don’t delegate. You will:

  • Lose the respect of your colleagues because nothing will be done on time
  • Fail to develop the capabilities of your team and your colleagues
  • Find you simply do not have the time to do what you think is your job
  • Spend very little time doing the things you are good at
  • Lose customers
  • Not get new ones
  • Become mired in stress and frustration
  • Be overtaken on the management ladder
  • Lose your confidence, and maybe your job or your business

The next time something lands on your desk, ask yourself the question: “Who is the best person to handle this?”
For more tips on delegation, go to the Recharge Workshop at and check the downloads on Managing Yourself. 

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