Mar 20, 201811:55 AMLeader to Leader
with Terry Siebert
Barriers to effective delegation (again!)
(page 2 of 2)
3. The subordinate will do too good a job
I used to work with a fellow manager who was as strong a workaholic as anyone I’ve known. This same individual was famous for never taking vacations because she was “the only one who could do the job.” At long last, she was forced to take a vacation and her assistant took over for two weeks. Upon her return, she heard about how smoothly the operation had run in her absence. She was even told that a monthly project had gone better than ever.
After hearing all this positive feedback, she was threatened and immediately started to find negative things to say about her assistant. The story ended when the manager was let go and the assistant took over. The point is that good leaders tend to rise on the shoulders (not the heads) of their people.
4. People do not know how to delegate effectively
At entry level, 90% of job performance is a direct result of our own efforts. As people advance through the leadership track, 90% of their results will probably come from what they are able to get done through others. I have a friend who heads up a very technical part of a large company. His education and much of his early career were based on engineering expertise. Today, he has over 200 engineers working for him. When I asked him how much of his day-to-day work required an engineering degree, he almost laughed. The point is job knowledge does not equal managerial ability or people skills. It is a distinctly different skill set and needs to be acquired. For more on this, read Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.
If you are in, or about to be in a leadership role, a keen sense of these barriers is a start. Better than that, get beyond the barriers and build people to make them successful. That’s what good leadership is all about!
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