Written by Cordell Hensley – KCTS Consultant
Last year I was fortunate enough to work within many companies, and within all of them I could always find leaders who would not delegate. There were many reasons but often it was a lack of trust.
Why don’t people trust those who work for them? If we don’t trust them, why do we employ them? How can we be successful without a good team? There are plenty of articles and research that suggest that without a good team; even the most talented managers & leaders will fail. So if we don’t trust our team to deliver, then we should look at why. I believe it is rarely the team itself, but the leader, the person who is struggling to delegate who has the issue. While there are plenty of people out there who cannot be trusted, most of us will only ever have to deal with a handful in our careers. The majority of people are capable and willing; we just don’t trust them enough or spend enough time and energy on developing them to become that dream team that we want working with us.
Frequently I find it is purely because leader hasn’t sat down and had any expectation discussions with these people, or even defined what they should be doing. If they fail to fulfil our expectations then we begin to mistrust them and do all the work ourselves. Sometimes we give them a bit of work to do, but our instructions are poor or unclear and then when they come back with sub-standard work, we feel we can’t trust them. I would suggest that in the majority of cases it is the leader who is truly the reason behind the lack of delegation.
If we trust our people, but don’t know how to delegate, then we have passed the major hurdle. Delegating is easy once we have trust. All we have to do is give clear instructions, sufficient resource (usually time) and ensure that the relationship is open enough that the person feels comfortable to come back and ask for further guidance or support if they get stuck. Likewise, if they complete the task and we are unhappy with the output, maybe we haven’t clearly defined our expectations.
Whenever we feel that we are unable to delegate it is easy to blame the people to whom we cannot delegate. Dario Manquez Jr. (CEO of MVM) said it all when he said “A leader must get things done through others, therefore the leader must have the ability to inspire and motive, guide and direct, and listen. That is all delegation is, getting others to do things that need doing. Good leaders do it and get elevated because of it. Poor leaders don’t do it and are stuck in the rut they have created for themselves. Which camp are you in?