The advantages and disadvantages of delegation in 2022
by The Alternative Board (UK)
Do you enjoy the benefits of delegation?
Delegation is the act of passing over the responsibility for a task to someone else. It is often recommended to business leaders who are looking to scale their businesses, develop their team, and free up time. Delegation does helpfully “free up” a leader’s time to focus on the larger business issues such as strategy or vision. However, the biggest barrier to delegation is often “I could do it quicker and better myself.” That may be true, and delegation can lead to frustration, but when done right, it provides a business leader with significant advantages.
You’ll know that delegation isn’t always plain sailing and we’re here to get it all out there – what are the pros and cons of delegation? Are the benefits of delegation worth it? Does it really save you time? Stay with us to find out.
We'll be covering:
The disadvantages of delegation
Quality of work can suffer
When you are used to completing tasks in a certain way, and to a certain standard, it can be hard when that standard is compromised. This is a big disadvantage to delegation: the fact that quality can suffer. This might be the quality of communication with clients, the quality of sales pitches or the quality of the actual products delivered. In any capacity, when you delegate, you are running the risk that the company’s outputs may not being as strong as before.
Lack of employee confidence
Unfortunately, delegation can put you at a disadvantage when the wrong task is delegated to the wrong member of staff. Often, if a member of staff is delegated a task beyond their capabilities or knowledge, their confidence and morale can plummet. This can lead to job dissatisfaction and increased staff turnover if it isn’t addressed properly.
Potential extra costs for staff training
Coupled with the lack of employee confidence comes the extra costs that may be tied to delegation. If you decide you need to delegate a responsibility but only you have the skills to take it on, you must be prepared to invest in staff training, both financially and with time. This could take funds from elsewhere if you’re working on a tight budget, so you need to weigh up the pros and cons of delegating a task if costs are involved.
It can lead to frustration
As a result of these challenges, you as a leader can become increasingly frustrated. You may find yourself toying with thoughts such as: “why can’t they do it right?” or “why is it taking them so long?” That can then lead to your own lack of focus and demotivation which is a dangerous game to play as a business leader. If your morale drops, you can be safe to assume the morale of your team will go with it. With that said, it’s therefore important for you to deal with your frustration as a business leader straight away.
The benefits of delegation
It can save time for everyone
As a leader of a growing business, you properly know you’re spinning too many plates. Effective delegation will take off the pressure a little and allow you to focus your time on achieving your personal vision and your company vision.
We know that most leaders would love to spend more time with their friends and families or investing in their overall business strategy. By delegating work they don’t necessarily have to do, and by investing the time to train staff in the short-term, we have seen leaders gain time in the long-term.
However, it’s probably not a great strategy to only delegate to save your own time alone. By delegating properly, you begin to collaborate with others so you can all find the most efficient way of doing something. This way, everyone can become more productive and satisfied.
Growing team and business
This is a huge benefit of delegation: growing a team in both numbers and in skills. By sharing the load of responsibilities, you’re not only investing in your team’s careers, but delegating also improves your overall productivity and your business’ output. This can then lead to increased profit margins, better recruitment opportunities, higher staff retention rates and growing product lines.
Fulfilling your job role
As a managing director or CEO of a business, you should be doing the stuff only the CEO can do. Once you start delegating, this becomes a reality. This means you’ll be less frustrated with the notion of “not doing what you should be doing.” You’ll be able to focus on building a workable and successful business strategy, making it more likely that you’ll reach your goals and aspirations.
Stronger business continuity
It’s always a humbling question. How would your business fare if you suddenly weren’t around? This brings us to another benefit of delegation - a stronger business continuity model. By delegating as many tasks as you can within the business, it’s likely that your team and stakeholders would be able to run the business without you. This applies when you look to exit your business too and means that with delegation, you are safeguarding your business for its future.
How do you delegate?
Now we’ve covered the benefits of delegation, we wouldn’t want to leave you without some top tips on how to do so.
Learn to let go
Our first and probably most important tip is that leaders need to let go. By holding on to a particular way of doing things, you’re limiting your team and your business. Learn to embrace the change delegation can bring and see your business thrive. You might even find the task is done better!
Match the right people to the task
As Max Crosby-Browne writes in his tips on delegation, always begin delegating with employees who have demonstrated the ability to think on their feet and are happy to take on the responsibility tied to the task.
Provide feedback without taking over
With delegation, you’ve got to find a balance; you don’t want to interfere too much once the responsibility has been passed over, but we also wouldn’t recommend taking your foot completely off the gas. Check in now and again and be sure to provide constructive feedback on how staff can improve, as well as giving them the opportunity to suggest their own thoughts and ideas.
Having worked with thousands of business owners across the UK, and supporting them with delegation issues, we know the positive impact it can have. The key to delegation is to make sure you do so thoughtfully and effectively, and you should reap the benefits delegating provides.
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