Delegation and Expectations of Responsibilities

Delegation and Expectations of Responsibilities
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 Scott Bossart

In business, everyone seems to come across those folks who appear to be good at making things happen and getting things done.  Typically not in that group are those who fall into two categories of management qualities;  Those that overload their own plate for the sake of what they feel will make it easier on themselves, and those leaders who seem to employ a logic of to be successful you have to be a good delegator.  The reality is those who truly are successful are very good at knowing the balance of what to delegate, what to personally take responsibility for, and how to establish and support the expectation for others.  On one side there are those who seem to delegate everything regardless of what the task is and regardless of the current workload to the parson being delegated to.  On the other side there are those who don’t delegate anything and try to perform everything coming across their plate bogging them down from other important duties.  There is a sweet spot in the middle which excels and differentiates a person who is simply leading an organization or group and a person who is an actual leader for the organization or group.

When leading a group within the organization towards excelled performance, the pressure increases as more deadlines or key performance indicators are monitored and presented to higher levels of the Business.  Depending on your level of standards and the level of trust applied to those around you or within your direct group, will typically dictate how much work you are willing to absorb and do yourself.  Often, key leaders tend to take certain tasks on themselves even though there exists staff members who should be responsible for them.  Several logics come into play to include a mindset that its quicker and easier to just perform the task as opposed to instructing or guiding someone else to do it.  Other cases involve a level of self-inflicted pressure to the task being their responsibility and their feelings it will display team work within the organization.  In either case, the end result will typically lead to something else not getting accomplished or not getting accomplished at the best performance level.  To be successful the expectations of those around you must be established and clearly understood.  Secondly there has to be a level of trust in the assigned task being accomplished or reaching the end result by someone other than yourself.  It may not be the same path or course of action you would take, but it does have to achieve the understood objective at the desired level of performance.  You also do not help those around you reach their full potential if they are not allowed or expected to perform against tasks you feel are simply easier to handle by yourself but should be handled by them.

If your leadership style is derived from the logic that all good leaders are good delegator’s, I would expect you would lose any debate about your skills and ability to actually perform work you are responsible for.  Effective delegation can be tricky business and produce only marginal success rates if the mindset is to delegate everything possible.  When there exists high levels of delegated tasks, the message sent to the staff can produce a negative effect of empowerment.  It is important to fully understand those tasks which are best handled by a leader verses someone else.  Often times those who delegate do not seem to fully understand the work load given to those around them and even present themself as not being capable of handling tasks which someone in their role should be able to handle.  I have even experienced some leaders who delegate to the extent to lose control over the very segment of the organization they are responsible for.  If this is you, when this happens, it becomes hard to defend your decision or position when things go wrong.  Know the level of work load given to those around you.  Don’t place more work on an already stressed work load.  If there is a need to add to the existing work load, have the discussion with those around you to fully understand the ramifications of your intentions.

Establishing an expectation and having trust in those who are performing the task, will establish your leadership qualities, more so than simply performing the task yourself.  Together and collectively added tasks can be disbursed and possibly split up into smaller segments.  The key is to find the balance between what the staff can handle verses what will add stress to an already overstressed pipeline.  Maintain a full understanding of what those around you are faced with and set the level of expectations based on the available skill set.  If gaps exist, address the gaps in skill, ability, and workload.  In some instances, this may mean the leader will assume some added responsibility for short periods of time.  In other instances, it may build a business case for increased resources.  The extremes of taking on more than can be handled, or delegating more than is realistically capable of being handled by others, can lead to risky performance.  In the end, regardless of the outcome, the leadership capability of the actual person leading becomes questionable not only by subordinates and those around them but also to the higher levels within the organization.  In either case, successful sustainability is only realized for a limited time period.

O.M.E.M., LLC – Helping Businesses Improve

Stay Well

Scott B.


Leave a reply