Delegate Dumbly or Delegate Smartly, It’s Your Call

Either way, you’ll be remembered for both

Out of sight, out of mind only makes the heart grow fonder in the short term. We have been out of sight for more than a year.

Now there’s a fresh fear on the block. The fear of being forgotten, working at home alone.

It makes us do dumb things. Like working harder and longer to prove our worth. To show we matter. To make them need us. To be remembered.

Oh, right. We did that back in the office, back in the old days, back when we were also dumb. Apparently, the more things change, the more… never mind.


Don’t Fear To Delegate Smartly

It’s so tempting to do it all yourself. (source unknown)

Now is not the time to do stupid things just to prove how valuable you are to your employer.

Like doing more and working harder.

OK, maybe these are not stupid tactics in the short term, but they can harm your future prospects.

I know it is tempting to do more and more yourself instead of delegating, but please restrain yourself. The ability to delegate effectively identifies you as a leader in two ways. It calms your superiors to know that you can utilize resources; and it cheers your subordinates to know that you value them.

The ability to calm and to cheer people during times of fear and stress can be quite valuable.

As for working harder, well, that’s always a dumb strategy. This economy, whether it is growing or shrinking, is now mostly a knowledge-based economy. That calls for working smarter, not harder. More brain, less brawn.

But you surely already knew that.


Don’t Micro-Manage Your Absolute Advantage Into Nothing

Some people have skills; others have abilities. And vice versa. (free public domain: clipart-people.com)

Here’s a lesson for bosses with an urge to micro-manage. It’s basic economics, so please concentrate.

You are a boss because you have people reporting to you. As you have discovered, people have different skills and abilities. And as you know, very often you can do something faster and better than they can.

Yet, it is quite possible that one of your team members has a comparative advantage over you. In other words, this person can do something at a lower cost than you can. Hey, that’s quite obvious, you might think, taking your bigger salary into account. But there’s more to it.

Don’t confuse comparative advantage with being the best at something. Being the best at something is called absolute advantage. You might have an absolute advantage at the delegated task, but your time is comparatively better spent elsewhere.

Remember this. Every time you manage according to your absolute advantage, you destroy your team’s comparative advantage.


To Trigger Failure, Delegate What You Dislike

Don’t delegate only that which you dislike doing. (free public domain: clipart-people.com)

What part of your job do you dislike? And what part do you delegate? How much overlap is there between what you dislike and what you delegate?

I once consulted to a CEO brought in to manage a turnaround. We had to be careful about what we could delegate and what we had to do ourselves. Unavoidably, several people had to go. The CEO would not delegate this task. He disliked doing it, which is why he would not ask anyone else to do it.

Often the parts of your job that you dislike are the pieces you should not delegate because they matter to your role, they determine your success, or because others know it is cowardly to delegate that which you dislike doing.

Collective success is more likely if you have the discipline to delegate not what you dislike, but what others can do better than you.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.