The Advantages & Disadvantages of Delegating Tasks

by Dianne Heath; Updated September 26, 2017
Pile of towels

Delegating involves assigning subordinates responsibility over a task or different aspects of a project. When executed correctly, delegation can increase productivity and motivation within an organization. However, delegation can also cause confusion and inefficiency. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of delegation to avoid mistakes and improve your delegation skills.

Take Advantage of Specialized Skills

Many subordinates have specialized skills and relevant experience that aligns with the task. They may be eager to display their qualifications and advance professionally by demonstrating their talent for the project. A subordinate can also offer fresh insight and a novel perspective, which increases creativity and innovation.

Improve Time Management

Delegation enables you to focus on more important tasks or tasks for which you are better suited. The increase in time reduces pressure and stress. This allows you to concentrate on your remaining tasks and allocate more time for other tasks. For example, delegating customer service tasks to a subordinate saves you the time that would be spent interacting with customers and handling issues. Consequently, you would have more time to design products and hire employees.

Build Trust Within the Organization

Delegation encourages you to learn how to trust your subordinates and not always be in control. Once subordinates successfully complete a task, you will have more trust in the future in their capabilities. Having more knowledge about projects that need to be completed helps the subordinates trust their managers.

Possible Miscommunication Conflicts

If there is miscommunication about the expectations for the task, conflict may arise between the subordinate and the supervisor. Subordinates may fear asking for clarification, while supervisors may underestimate the complexity of the project and fail to thoroughly explain the task. Without clear goals and objectives, the subordinate and supervisor can have contrasting ideas on how to successfully complete the task.

Effects of Lack of Commitment

Subordinates may not have enough vested interest or personal connection to the project to wholly understand the significance of the task. They may not have the same commitment level or passion as the originator of the task, as it was not their idea from the beginning. For example, if you put in substantial effort over several months networking and gaining influential contacts, then you will value following up on them more than a person who did not witness or participate in the effort.

Risk of Inferior Results

If your subordinates are already swamped with their own duties, they may not have the time to fully focus and put in their best work for delegated tasks. Other times, the delegated tasks might be above the subordinate's skill level or experience. The capacity to complete the task may also be limited by the lack of resources. Or, the subordinate may not enjoy the assignment or simply not care, which lowers performance.

About the Author

Dianne Heath has been writing professionally since 2009. Her work has been published in "The Hill," a political commentary publication, where she covered the water wars between Georgia, Florida and Alabama, as well as within California. Heath is pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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