June 24, 2024


Business – Your Game

Top 5 Reasons Why Managers Fear to Delegate

Managers fear to delegate tasks to subordinates due to the following reasons

Tasks will not be handled well enough as you would do

This is the major worry for all managers. It is up to the manager to find the right person from the team, support and coach that person to handle the tasks. Start by giving small tasks and test the person’s capability. Step by step start increasing the complexity of the tasks and also hand hold for sometime. Once the person has shaped up, you could start trusting the person with any tasks. Also do the follow up regularly at least in initial stages. Remember you are still accountable even if you have delegated the task to your team member. For example: I delegated the follow up of a small project of 2 months duration to one of my senior team members. The team member made an excellent plan and assigned tasks to other team members in consultation with me. Later just 1 week before the milestone I found that the progress was not good. I pitched in by introducing daily follow ups and brought the project back on track. I taught him how to be strict with deadlines and how to achieve the same. He learnt this by just observing how I managed to get the project back on track.

The sub-ordinate handling the task better than himself/herself

You should rest assured that you cannot have every competency and for sure your sub-ordinate must be having better competency than you in at least one area. As a manager you should know how to leverage the skills of your sub-ordinates and use it to your advantage Also you could take up other interesting tasks and increase breadth of your involvement if your sub-ordinate is handling the tasks well. This will also reflect on your capability to mentor and coach your sub-ordinate. If your sub-ordinates do better than you it should be a credit to you since they could do the tasks better due to the opportunity given by you and your coaching.

Getting replaced from current position/ Sub-ordinate taking complete control

This is a real fear for many managers. You are in this position because you have certain competencies to handle the role. Your sub-ordinate has not yet reached the maturity level as you have. Your sub-ordinates will respect you for giving them exposure to managerial tasks and I am sure they will not sideline at any point if they have the respect for you. For eg: I have faced the following situation. I delegated complete project handling to my sub-ordinate including interaction with counterparts. He did an amazing job of project, probably better than I would have done. When I was distributing hike letters to my team members, he said he will hand over the letter to the members working in his project. I strictly told no and indicated to him that I have not delegated the people responsibility to him and he accepted that.

Not in the loop for important information

If you delegate the right tasks then this problem will not happen. Even if you delegate the tasks, you should expect your sub-ordinate to report the status to you. If pro-active status reporting is not happening, then a formal follow up mechanism should be put in place. Also it is important to gain the trust and respect from the sub-ordinate before delegating the tasks.

Not involved in important decisions making

Some sub-ordinates could be over enthusiastic and could infringe upon your tasks (even those which you have not delegated). If you face such an issue it should be taken up with sub-ordinate and should in no un-certain terms indicate that this is not expected from him/her. For example: You should think before you delegate tasks like, Who has to be given which responsibility and tasks, major decisions which affect the project/team/business like budget, head count, important meetings where decisions & commitments are required etc.


It is necessary for the managers to overcome their fears for delegation. Current businesses, projects and issues are complex and managers will be hard pressed for time to address all issues in a timely manner. It is also important that the manager does not become a bottleneck for resolving all issues and taking decisions. Managers must learn to leverage the competencies of their team members in an appropriate way and develop their skills and prepare them for handling delegated tasks. The sub-ordinates also will feel valued if such responsibilities are given to them.