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By Darryl Stewart

Top reasons why delegation fails and we end up doing it ourselves

Being a manager is tough.  It is even tougher if you can’t get delegation working effectively for you.

My top reasons why delegation fails:

  • We delegate something to someone that is far outside their skills and interests.
  • We micro manage someone we delegated to, to the point where they don’t feel responsible for the success of the task.
  • We put too narrow a definition on what the process needs to look like.  We are not open to alternate ways to get to the same end.
  • We were not clear on the result we were looking for and/or the time or resources available to get the task done.
  • We delegate with a “one size fits all” approach.

I am a micro manager at my core.  I joke with my teams that I am a recovering micro-manager and to please help support me in my “recovery”.    My mode these days is to take all the energy I used to put into dictating exactly how and when something will get done and put all that same energy into discussion and agreement on what the outcomes we are looking for are.  Then, most importantly, I keep an open mind to the whole process, from a healthy distance, a distance that grows or shrinks with the confidence I have in the team or person doing the work and the results they are achieving.

Whether you are a micro-manager at heart like me or a laid back manager that might say something like “I’m fine with whatever” without even missing a beat, it is really important to understand that people are not looking for someone to tell them how to do everything and they’re also not looking for a boss who just leaves them to their own devices. They’re looking for the right amount of guidance and in this area, one size most definitely does not fit all.

If we take the time to delegate the right tasks to the appropriate people, communicate the desired results effectively and manage the situation in a style appropriate for the person, delegation success will follow.


The fine art of delegation!
The fine art of delegation!


IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.