ABDICATION: IS IT DELEGATION?


How to delegate is one of the most common concerns for leaders. I have seen leaders who fear delegating work and end up doing all the work by themselves, risking their own and team’s productivity. I have also heard, “Thanks, you take it forward, I know you are the expert, and I don’t want to hear about it again”.


Sometimes leaders delegate work to team members that they don’t like or don’t know how to do. And, they think that they don’t have to do that task anymore, they are free, the task is out of their list, worries are over, and someone else will do that task now.


Abdication is a feeling that “It is not my job anymore”.


The solution to micromanaging is not abdicating it. The way to deal with it is to keep ownership of the outcome. Before abdicating a task, it will be helpful to sit down and have a discussion about the concrete, desired results. A lack of visibility and engagement creates abdication; leaders need to set process to check on progress instead of thinking that “I don’t want to nag my team; they know it better than me”. Team members could indeed bring excellent ideas and specific measures; however, a discussion about necessary outcomes and how to measure them is the responsibility of a leader.


Conversations like this help leaders show that they care about their team, support the team to be the experts, do their work, mitigate the risks, and maintain ownership of the outcomes.