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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

August - 2007 - issue > Art of Delegation

Who's got the fat monkey on his back?

Vimali Swamy
Monday, August 6, 2007
Vimali Swamy
Effective delegation of work is an essential management tool that frees you to become a more focused and strategic thinker, giving you a reputation for getting things done. Above all it helps you leave at the end of the day with an uncluttered mind and an empty briefcase. In spite of all that has been said and done to teach delegation skills, a typical scenario for many managers is stalled projects, a desk with piled up papers requiring immediate action, inboxes overflowing with unread e-mails, and their office doorways jammed with staffers anxious to unload their tales of horror and woe. Why does this happen? Where do the managers fail?

Newly appointed managers often lack confidence and trust in the subordinates, and are afraid to delegate work. Some don’t know what to delegate when, while others fear the empty syndrome – What is my job if I give all my tasks away? Nagesh D. Vernekar, Group project Manager, Aditi Technologies took up the managerial role three years back when he joined Aditi. Initially he too had the sense of failure but over a period of time he became confident enough to delegate more and more tasks. “When you delegate the work to others and still are responsible for it then the distrust factor is not very big,” he says.

This does not mean that all seasoned managers delegate tasks appropriately. While some fear that an employee may perform the task better than them, most are simply too detail-oriented, too afraid of failure, or even impatient. The result is, they can’t point to one person in their organization who would be qualified to replace them if an opportunity to move up came along. Harish Dwarkanhalli, Director – Projects, Cognizant Technology Solutions says, “A manager should never feel threatened by any of his team members. On the contrary he should be happy that his team is able to carry out certain tasks, which leaves him to look after other responsibilities”.

Internationally known management consultant and author of several books, Roger Fritz says, “When you fail to delegate, the monkey on your back gets fatter and fatter until it squashes you”.

Though there has been a tremendous change in the trend of delegation over the years, effective delegation is not everyone’s forte. Micromanagement is adopted only when one has a team of around 10–12 persons. Moreover, the interest of the person is taken into notice before allocating work. Although the technology today makes delegation far easier than what it used to be earlier, the question still remains – do managers delegate effectively?


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