Successful managers delegate. But often we resist. Whitney Johnson, a founding partner of the investment house Rose Park Advisors, warns on Harvard Business Review blogs that there are three occasions when your instincts might be correctly telling you not to delegate:
Are you struggling to explain precisely what you want done?
If you can't articulate what problem needs to be solved, or exactly what needs to be done, it's usually best to wait to assign responsibility for the task until you can. Think through the problem or task a little longer, so that you can clearly explain what is necessary.
Are you putting your own development or ability to lead in jeopardy by delegating?
Managers are supposed to delegate to develop others. But what about yourself? As you rise through an organization, you may be handing off tasks that are vital to your own development. Ms. Johnson points to a CEO who lacked people skills, but was able to delegate that to others while becoming increasingly insulated from his staff. In the end, those undeveloped skills made him ineffective and his tenure was cut short.
Could delegating undermine a project's success?
There are times when the manager is the best person - the only person - to take on an important task, and must meet that challenge.