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29 August 2012

Wait...Do not delegate !!

Yesterday, while having lunch with my colleagues, I learned a great lesson from Dr.Nagaraja.

Dr.Nagaraja is the GM in the company that I work for. In his early 50s, he is a person whom I appreciate for his intellect and his exceptional communication skills. He has the rare ability to see through all the clutter of information and pinpoint the real issue. He is one of the real leaders with whom I have the pleasure of working.

We were attending a farewell dinner for our friend Ajay, who, as I mentioned in a previous post, doesn't like to save his previous mails as he moves to a new role.

Dr.Nagaraja was the Project Manager and Project Champion for the ERP implementation project that our company had undertaken. He was talking about his experiences in the project.

"Modern management theories speak a lot about the benefits of Delegation", said Doctor in that slow and clear voice of his, "No doubt, delegation is good and you need to delegate. That is the only way in which you can improve the quality of your people, and that, in turn, will help you grow."

"But, in my opinion there are two types of tasks which you should not delegate, especially if you are working in a cross-functional team like the one that we had. One, you should not delegate tasks that fall between the gaps, the kind of tasks that cross modules and which cannot be owned by a specific member of your team. You should not delegate these tasks."

"The second kind of tasks that you should not delegate are those about which you are very passionate. For example, I am passionate about training and ensuring added value to the organization. While I am sure that there are competent members in my team who can take up the ownership of training, I would prefer to own and drive the training engagements since it is close to my heart."

I found that to be a good lesson. When I look back. in almost all the trainings that I have attended, they stressed on the importance of delegation. Delegate, delegate and delegate more  was the common message. Listening to Doctor, I was reminded of the similarity between his views and the views of Jack Welch, who, in  his book 'Winning', mentioned that he never delegated the ownership of Training and retraining and how he used to personally sit through training sessions to ensure that the quality of delivery was excellent and that the organization benefited out of the training sessions.

This lesson is applicable even in our personal lives, I think. There are certain tasks in our life which we cannot abdicate responsibility. There may be tough situations in our lives where we have to 'be a man' and own up the responsibility. 

Before you decide to delegate, please wait and think....

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