5 things a manager can’t (and shouldn’t) delegate

You have to do many things yourself. Things that you cannot delegate.” – Nadine Gramling

As you already know, I truly believe managers should build teams, empower team members and orchestrate the implementation of main tasks. I believe managers should and must delegate… a lot. However, in my opinion, they should delegate everything but some tasks that are completely up to them. The tasks that a manager can’t delegate are, from my point of view, those that represent the manager’s trademark – if the manager is the one responsible for his team’s objectives and for the team’s overall wellbeing in general then it’s the manager that should take care of these few aspects:

1. Managers can’t delegate explaining the vision or seeing the full big picture

It is of uttermost importance for the team to understand the overall vision for the company and for their department, division etc. The manager is the one most aware of his team’s objectives and their strengths and weaknesses, he is the one who best understands how to communicate with the team so he must translate the vision to them so that they understand and adopt it. The manager is the one who has the overall bigger picture of the team he leads so it is his job to look around the organization and market and explain the team’s role in the big picture and offer perspective. There is nothing more powerful or motivating.

It’s the team’s job to get results out of their main responsibilities and tasks. But it’s the manager’s job to have a full picture with these results and see whether they should keep doing what it is they are doing in the first place.

2. Managers can’t delegate recruiting and building their team 

Your team is simply crucial for you as a manager. This is something you simply cannot delegate so you’d better start getting good at it. It’s the manager’s job to recruit the best people, match them with the jobs, set responsibilities and objectives and motivate the team so that they are inspired to do their best job possible.

3. Relationship with upper management or investors

Why? Because he should be buffering. Managers should absord pressure on numbers and objectives coming from upper management or investors and keep on motivating and inspiring their team, without transmiting the pressure over them just as he received it from above.

4. Team culture and values

The leader sets the tone. Whether (s)he wants it or not. And if the manager is not the leader, the leader will leave his or her mark. This is a truth universally acknowledges which you will easily relate to. The group leader’s value, tone of voice, views on team relationships and vision will quickly spread in his team.

5.  Tough decisions, tough feedback, tough talks

People need a leader and they need to see strength in their leader. If you run away from tough decisions, tough talks or from offering tough feedback, you will soon lose your team’s respect.

The overall idea is that you can delegate authority, you can delegate responsibility, but the responsibility for the overall team or organization and for their results will always somehow be yours. Do you think there are other tasks or responsibilities that you simply can’t delegate?

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