‘Delegation’ is not abdication.

‘Delegation’ is that process whereby a leader or manager allocates responsibility to a trusted subordinate on his or her behalf.

This principle was nicely demonstrated by the Gautrain CEO in the previous blog article. The mood of such a leader is, ‘They come to me. I have faith in their trustworthiness and competency. I let them execute the task at hand.’

Delegation does not mean remote-control management or governance. Absentee-landlordism or remote-control mangement is another dysfuntional management/leadership paradigm.

Nepotism is another perversion of what could be presented or construed as ‘delegation’. In other words, ‘I put you there because you represent my interest.’ Empowered leadership values the contributions and the needs of all the stakeholders involved. That is why empowered leadership usually comes up with results. The message that comes through from the collective body is, ‘I am involved’ or ‘We are involved’; as opposed to ‘I am just here to get paid.’

What are the solutions to perverted delegation scenarios?

There are many answers to this question. Firstly, leaders would have to have good judgement in terms of building strong, trustworthy and competent teams. That would be a pre-requisite for delegation. How can a person represent you, as a leader, if he doesn’t know what he or she is doing? Or, he or she is of dubious character? Leaders must be directly involved in their projects or organizations. They should know what they are leading and the individuals involved – from ground-level up.

Leaders are obliged to train those under their care and set in place an infrastructure that accomodates the goals and values of the corporate. If there is a mutually understood vision – accomplished through education and effective communication – then processes such as delegation can be put into effect.

We can see that team-building (which requires personal involvement from the leader) and delegation go hand-in-hand.