Delegating tasks is the modern man’s enthusiastic mantra. He is doing it everyday. He is doing it so passionately, that he fails to realize how it is misbalancing that little ecosystem around him which is responsible for the bread, butter, boots and blankets of everyone in the ecosystem.
And he cloning himself and creating more like him in the ecosystem, is like the Ebola cloning itself – more damage. The cure is nothing but showing him a magnified view of the consequences of task-delegation in the name of Management Mantra. Of course delegation can be a gem if the delegator knows what s/he is doing.
Delegation can be of:
Core tasks. For an accountant, writing accounts is a core task.
Tasks owned by others but to be performed on their behalf. It’s not outrageous for a Manager to assign some minor tasks to his subordinate.
Administrative tasks. Getting your attendance marked or filling up activity-based time-sheets etc.
Ad hoc tasks you own. Like something went wrong and taking corrective measures.
Ad hoc tasks given to you by peers.
What of these are worth delegating? Is the flow of tasks from top to bottom through the channel of delegation too fast? Is it too slow? Are everybody in the habit of delegating something or the other to someone? Are they doing it as a show of power or strength? Do new hires get bullied by premature delegation of tasks to them? Are they delegating tasks so as to give more time into the social media like WhatsApp or Facebook? What is the pace of task-delegation in your ecosystem – 2 tasks per hour? Or an average of 5 tasks per resource? How many tasks are listed / registered in your system? Are some tasks re-delegated to unauthorized levels of employees? Are they re-re-delegated? Can you mentally prepare a picture, if these tasks were being completed sooner at some time in the past, but suddenly the execution time has hit the ceiling? Is it even being completed? If a task chokes up and the task meets a dead-end (no ownership), when is it detected? How is it cleared off? Is the delegator even monitoring the completion of tasks delegated to others? Who in the system is identifying bottlenecks in this flow of tasks where ownership is transferred at every level? Does the task become a namesake-task post-delegation? Would you complete it sooner, compared to the time taken to delegate & execute it for a desired output? Is your system lean in terms of tasks? Trust me – this list is endless and by now you will have your own questions to ask as well. To the wo/men with the acumen of running a system – not a single question can be left unanswered. Because every task is a direct or indirect revenue earner, and is a part of the roles & responsibilities of your resources.
99% of the times, the time taken to complete the task by you is lesser than the time taken to have it done through delegation. Because the process of delegation starts from finding a resource / assignee, checking the availability, giving deadlines, monitoring the resource if its a critical task / shorter deadlines etc. Unless you’re shrewd enough to let the resource shun everything he was doing to get your task done. This does more harm than good to your organization’s long term brand image.
A mother leaves her child at the crèche. She’s delegating the task of child-care to the caretaker. Was the task worth delegating? Helplessness led her to do it. Next – is the task completed well? The mother monitors the child’s behavior everyday to detect carelessness on behalf of the caretaker. Does the mother check for bottlenecks that the caretaker might face? She will – it is her responsibility because it is her baby. She would proactively assist the caretaker to steer clear off bottlenecks. Is one of the caretaker’s tasks getting choked up / unattended, and going undetected by the mother?
Every task is a baby, able to keep the system’s heartbeat going for long. Productivity is nothing but about the count of tasks and how quick they’re done in efficiency (i.e. quality), whether they’re the same repetitive tasks or not. Delegation of a task is as good as losing partial authority or control over the task through a voluntary choice. Uncontrolled delegation of tasks could let the control itself go out of control, and beyond reach. Task delegation if not done wisely, or without a careful and magnified analysis; could be a slow collapse for the ecosystem with the only hope of revival being pinned up on the changing-for-better of those who excessively mis-use the art of task-delegation!
Internet has a lot on delegation, and not all are suitable for all types of work-ecosystems. Customize your method of delegation, below are a few samples from the results got by using keywords ‘task delegation’ in Google Images.
P.S.: Blogger has not submitted any content here specific to any known situations / scenarios / work ecosystems.