The importance of effective delegation cannot be overemphasized.
Yet, many managers will be quick to point out that they don’t have time to delegate. I wonder if they know that this unwillingness to hand over responsibility could be costing them their next promotion. Ever heard of the Paradox of Indispensability?
This concept recently came to our attention while reading the London Business School’s Business Strategy Review. The article highlighted that many star performers in organizations are unable to adapt their skills once moving into management positions. The strong desire to be in control that drove them to put in the hours and sacrifice in other parts of their life now presents a significant risk to their future promotability.
Essentially, their exceptional performance makes them so valuable in their current position that promoting them would mean a considerable drop in performance. They are the “doers”. In short, they have become indispensable in their current position. And unfortunately, these individuals are so busy dealing with tactical issues that they are unable to focus on the strategic ones that will develop them, their direct reports and the organization. And the Result?
Often times people who perform, but cannot get others under them to perform, get that promotion.
It is time to change the mindset amongst managers that delegation is tantamount to handing over control. In turn, an organization in which managers are identifying, supporting and developing direct reports to easily step into their role so that they are able to move up a rung on the career ladder is able to grow and flourish
It therefore becomes an HR imperative to develop this skill amongst managers! Often the first step is for these managers to be aware of their ineffective behaviours. This is not always easy because individuals often feel they know how others perceive them. Incidentally, research has proven this assumption is all too often a false one at any age. However, managers must become aware of their ineffective actions if they are to have the opportunity to improve them.
Our tip! Consider incorporating some questions about delegation in your next 360 assessment. By receiving feedback from their manager, subordinates, and peers the individual will create a more accurate view of how they are perceived in this area, align their self-perception to how others perceive them and be able to take corrective action for the advancement of their team, organization, and career.
Tags: Career Progression, Delegation, Paradox of Indispensability, Promotion