Manager’s Attitudes for Successful Delegation

successful delegationFailure to delegate authority properly can result in a breakdown of the managerial structure of an enterprise. Studies have shown that a major reason for managerial failure is poor delegation of authority. The problem isn’t a lack of understanding about what delegation actually is, but is with personal attitudes toward delegation on the part of managers. It’s these attitudes that make it impossible for delegation to be successful.

There are several attitudes a manager must develop in order to achieve successful delegation of authority:


A willingness to give other people’s ideas a chance. Managers must realize that decisions made by subordinates aren’t likely to be exactly the same ones they would make. There’s usually more than one way to solve a problem. The manager who welcomes ideas from others and compliments them on their ingenuity will be successful in the delegation of authority.

A manager must be willing to let go. This can be a problem in organizations where managers have moved up the executive ladder. Sometimes executives who have been promoted want to continue to make decisions for the activities they’re most familiar with. By continuing to make decisions for the position moved out of, the manager wastes valuable time that could be used for decisions in the new position. Managers will enlarge their contributions to the firm if they concentrate on their new responsibilities and give subordinates the opportunity to grow by making their own decisions.

A willingness to let others make mistakes, within reason, is another attitude that indicates success at delegation. Everyone makes mistakes, and that includes managers. Subordinates must be allowed to make them, and their cost must be charged to investment in personal development. By giving patient counseling asking insightful questions, and carefully explaining objectives and policies, serious or repeated mistakes can be largely avoided without nullifying delegation or hindering the development of a subordinate. It’s not necessary to use intimidating criticism in pointing out mistakes made by a subordinate. Such an attitude will produce negative development. Another essential attitude is trust. Superiors must trust their subordinates, for delegation requires a trustful attitude between the two.

Superiors sometimes put off delegation by arguing that subordinates aren’t able, that they can’t handle people, that they haven’t yet developed the boss’s personality, or that they don’t approbate all the facts bearing on a situation. This could be the result of the supervisor’s lack of training of subordinates or the superior’s inability to select subordinates objectively. In any event, some superiors continue to make decisions for their subordinates because they don’t wish to let go, don’t delegate wisely, or don’t know how to set up controls to ensure proper use of authority. This refusal to delegate authority is akin to courting disaster.


Source: Industrial Management Course

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