Leaning on colleagues is often encouraged at work because it can promote teamwork, can build morale and foster trust in a department. This is all true. But, in certain circumstances, delegation may not be as productive as it seems. We’ve asked business experts to share when delegating may not be the best course of action.
Your delegate may not up be able to handle the role
Passing the baton can be enticing but make sure the person you’ve delegated the project to is up for the task, “When it comes to delegating work, you need to make sure the person you are passing it off to has as much clarity on the task as you do. Anything less will inevitably result in miscommunication, and inadequate work,” says Tim Brown, owner of Hook Agency, a digital marketing firm in Minneapolis.
Furthermore, if the work isn’t double-checked, it can cause serious problems down the road. “If you, as the business owner, assume something is being done correctly, and you find out it isn't three months
later, you have a much larger problem on your hands,” he adds.
Your pulse on company dynamics may suffer
Always handing off assignments and work can hamper your insight and understanding about company dynamics. “It can be extremely detrimental to your company if you are always delegating tasks to your employees because you may not really know what it takes to get certain things done,” says Ben Walker, CEO of Transcription Outsourcing. “I have done this and it has backfired on me in the past.”
Your employees or colleagues may become resentful
If the boss is always passing work along and not demonstrating competence and leading by example, there could be some hostility in the ranks. “You may have employees that get resentful if you are always passing everything off and then they talk behind your back and become a cancer within your company,” Walker says. “Don’t do the work for them, show them how to do it and then let them run with it.”
The task is of a confidential nature
If there are sensitive or confidential matters, delegation may not be worth the trouble. “Delegating matters that are of this nature would never work in your favor. Instead, it will only reflect poorly on you.
If sensitive tasks are delegated, the company’s security will be put into jeopardy together with the employee’s safety and your job,” says Norhanie Pangulima, content marketing executive with
Gigworker. Instead, carefully assess the situation and handle sensitive matters on your own.
Limit deletion to small doses
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, a document filing services company based in Calabasas, California, says she understands the argument in favor of delegation as well as the opposition
surrounding it. “My advice, if you feel unsure about delegating work, is to delegate in small doses,” she advises. When delegating work to an entry-level employee, for instance, it's important to walk them
through the process and give them a deadline with some room to get the assignment done, Sweeney says. “This also provides you with a bit of time to review their work, offer up constructive feedback, and
carefully determine if you should continue delegating this type of workload to that particular individual,” Sweeney continues. “If not, you may try assigning them to work on something else and maintain a bit of
ownership with the initial workload.”