Leaders should embrace delegation as it contributes significantly to tremendous growth at the individual, team and organisational levels, says Poulomee Ghosh, a Senior Partner at TRANSEARCH India. “The practice not only helps people take on higher responsibilities but also prevents monotony and complacency, pushing team members out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to find innovative solutions, thereby facilitating their personal and professional growth. This sets the pace for a chain reaction, where leaders are able to create high-value professionals and robust teams that bolster organisational growth.”
But delegation is not solely about transferring tasks. Ghosh explains that it involves careful consideration of how much to delegate, to whom, and which tasks to assign. “Delegating comes with added responsibilities, including proper training, mentoring and explaining the rationale behind tasks.”
Many leaders fail to delegate as they feel a need to do all the work themselves.
Aditya Mishra, MD & CEO of CIEL HR, says this might be common among those who have recently stepped into managerial roles. He calls these people as ‘doer-in-chiefs’ as they are unable to give work to others because of insecurities and the inability to delegate. “It could become a big roadblocker for their career growth. For anyone to grow in their career, delegation plays a key role, because it frees up one’s time to focus on tasks or programmes that can deliver greater impact to the business. Delegation also develops team members to take on bigger responsibilities. This is how leaders make the organisation stronger and sustainable,” says Mishra.
Delegation is crucial in startups to leverage each employee’s strengths and foster a growth mindset that can build a dynamic and successful team, says Akshay Munjal, Founder and CEO, Hero Vired.How can leaders develop it?
Practising delegation is not difficult.
Mishra says leaders must first have a good understanding of their team members, their skills, aspirations and willingness to perform tasks. The team should know the required outcomes and the methods to achieve these. Companies should give employees the resources to perform such tasks, deadlines and monitoring mechanisms. Leaders can delegate successfully if they keep communication lines open with employees. But a leader under pressure has to decide which tasks can be delegated. “The thumb rule is: Do the priority ones, delegate specialised and no-brainer tasks, postpone non-urgent tasks, and discard unimportant ones. Leaders should know how to utilise their resources effectively to enhance the team’s productivity and positively impact the company’s bottom line,” Mishra says.
Ghosh says it is essential for leaders to be patient and understand that perfection may not be achieved immediately. Delegation is not only about work. It is the cornerstone of effective succession planning. Delegation communicates to the team members that the leader cares about their development, trusts them and encourages them to acquire diverse skill sets, ultimately creating an engaged and passionate team.
Communication is key
While some managers believe completing tasks themselves will yield faster and more accurate results, delegation fosters personal growth: As the delegated person grows, leaders can explore new challenges and step out of their comfort zones. A lot of work can be done in a short span by delegating.
Munjal says modern leaders excel by discerning business needs early on and then delegating work to get tasks done on time. Delegation becomes a powerful tool when the requirements are clear, enabling each resource to contribute towards constructing the organisational pyramid. This can lead to a sense of ownership, fostering collective responsibility within the team.
With India seeing the emergence of over 100,000 new startups in 2023, it is imperative that leaders in the country adeptly cultivate the skill of resource allocation. “A setup emphasising skill-based task allocation allows collective efforts toward one shared goal. Granting each resource the appropriate level of autonomy, along with accountability, ensures the daily delivery of high-quality outcomes and meticulous task completion,” he says.
Munjal of Hero Vired, however, cautions that delegation becomes challenging when leaders do not communicate effectively, leading to misunderstandings or unfulfilled expectations. Communication is key for effective growth of organisations, especially startups where daily progress needs to be reported across departments and levels.