Doing Your Fair Share: Why Leaders Need To Know The Difference Between Delegation And Abdication

"Delegating work works- provided the one delegating works too," said Robert Half (founder of the California-headquartered talent solutions company that bears his name), and that's something all of us -entrepreneurs included- would be wise to keep in mind, always.

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Let me start with a disclaimer: when it comes to leadership skills, I am especially bad at the art of delegation, wherein I often find myself overloaded with tasks just because I think, well, why should I bother someone else to do something, when I could just do it myself.

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The problem with this kind of thought process is that it will result in me probably getting overwhelmed and burnt out, or even just finding myself unable to do the tasks that I absolutely need to do, since I’ve bogged myself down with the minutiae that could have been taken care of by someone else on my team.

The good thing here though is that this is an issue I have indeed identified in myself as a leader, and therefore, I’ve been trying -albeit with limited success- to get more comfortable with the idea of delegation.

Having said that, I’ve come to realize that there is a definite reason for my misgivings about delegation- and that’s perhaps because I’ve come across way too many people who abuse their ability to deputize on a day-to-day basis.

They do this because they are in a position of power or privilege, and their abject laziness or apathetic attitudes allow them to simply dump work on those who work under them, not because they are too busy with other tasks or reasons of that nature, but just because they can.

I’ve had first-hand experience working under bosses like this, and while I was too young, too afraid, and too inexperienced to call out this exploitation for what it was back then, I find myself angrily pointing out such abdications of responsibility when I see it around me now- and it’s also why I am hellbent on keeping myself in check when I am delegating to my team, perhaps almost to a fault.

After all, I remember too well feeling unhappy and disillusioned with the behavior of my managers then, and how that led me to leave those jobs eventually- and I’m keen on making sure I never let my people feel that way.

“Delegating work works- provided the one delegating works too,” said Robert Half (founder of the California-headquartered talent solutions company that bears his name), and that’s something all of us -entrepreneurs included- would be wise to keep in mind, always.

Related: Own Up: It's Time For Action

Aby Sam Thomas

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Entrepreneur Staff

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.