“The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.” –Sandra Day O’ Connor
In Thomas S. Bateman’s Management: Competing in the New Era, “Delegation is the assignment of authority and responsibility to a subordinate at a lower level.” It is one of the most fundamental features of management that ensures work is carried out by others, saving time, reducing stress, etc. You alone cannot do all the work, so why not delegate. Without doubts, as a manager you would be conversant with what it entails to delegate. However, when delegating responsibilities, as a business leader; there are certain responsibilities not meant for delegation but the exclusive preserve of the leader.
Find out as you read along.
Your Vision: This is the heart of any organization and as such the essence of leadership. It is what births an organization in the first instance. The leader owns the vision of which he intimates every other team member to contribute to and run with. Thus, the responsibilities of leading the vision of your company rest solely in your hands and must not be delegated. Not to a subordinate, not to a consultant without your supervision, not to a team member. As a business leader, your accountability lies in creating the vision, explaining its goals and modifying it when necessary. You can share the vision with your team, but you must be very involved and give the final approval.
Tough Decisions: There are times when as the leader, you need to make tough decisions that are critically consequential to you and the organization, delegating this becomes inappropriate. Organizations revolve around some sensitive issues, and as a leader it would be wrong to delegate such responsibilities to a subordinate especially when it is your call to make. Moreover, it could make you look not so responsible before your delegate or staff in general.
Employee Recognition & Reward: Instances where an owner-manager has a subordinate write recognition letters and speeches, buy gifts for outstanding employees, etc. defeat the purpose of recognition. The feeling of fulfillment by an employee, from such appraisal and recognition comes when the appraisal is done by you the leader, not delegated to a subordinate. It is a personal act and must come from your personal discretion.
Disciplines: Certain forms of disciplines are best done by owner-manager/business leaders themselves. This essential part of management must never be delegated, not even to the HR when you need to demonstrate your commitment to core value/principles that defines your business practice. When an employee has done something worthy of discipline, you as the managing head must take the responsibility of dishing out the appropriate disciplinary measures to the offender. For instance, your staff has committed an offense worth firing, you must never delegate that to anyone, or else it would be seen as being disrespectful.
Hiring and On Boarding a New Employee: Both the decision of hiring and on boarding a new employee should not be delegated absolutely to a subordinate. As the leader, you should know and define the exact fit you want for the job; and as such you should be responsible and accountable for that decision. When the employee gets on board, you must be present to make them feel welcomed and be actively engaged in training and intimating them with what obtains in your organization. If need be, do well to clear your schedule and make out time for the new employee, notwithstanding their level of entry.
In conclusion therefore, despite the fact that delegation cannot be overemphasized in an organization, there are some tasks that leaders must never be delegated to whoever.