It is said that the difference between a manager and an independent producer is the ability to delegate. We often come across people (many a times we are those people) who want to wield power and control in every task, however trivial. If you think about it, how much work does that really accomplish? Worrying about washing the dishes, cooking, cleaning, etc while also being responsible for the nuclear codes of a country’s nuclear arsenal is inefficient and leaves scope for grave, irreversible mistakes, in this case, deadly sins, so to speak. It is impossible and ineffective for one individual to micro manage everything. Thus the ability to delegate and be effective interdependent managers and independent producers, in other cases, becomes crucial.

Delegating responsibility does not mean that one should direct each action and focus on the method the delegated task is being accomplished. One on one micro-supervision is no better than doing the task oneself. It is taking responsibility for the task ourselves. This way, not much is accomplished and not many people can be supervised at the same time.

A more effective approach would be to assign the responsibility for the result of the task and the choice of method to the concerned person or people skilled in the task. The manager or supervisor would thus focus on the result, and not the method. He or she can entrust the “steward” with the job while providing necessary guidelines and parameters, for instance, telling him or her what not to do more than what to do, the results desired, the resources that could be used, his/her/their accountability towards the task and frequent checks and rewards or natural consequences that would ensue. The steward(s) become their own boss. The team becomes more committed to the task assigned to them. The amount of work accomplished in a period of time would then be tremendous.

Trust is the best motivator and can bring out the best in people. But it takes time, a little training and development by means of some guidance and help. In competitive exams with negative marking, knowing which question to leave is more important to score than knowing which one to attempt or attempting all the questions.

Delegating, more than independently producing, surprisingly is the determinant of the efficiency of an organization, and thus the individual. It is the single, most powerful high leverage activity that makes room and time for other important high leverage activities. Besides, it is the most crucial managerial skill because it is so important to personal and organizational growth.

Written on January 16, 2022