Recently I had a conversation with a middle manager in a high-pressure job. She shared with me the problems she was facing in getting all her work done. It became clear to me that she was not delegating enough. I asked her why.
‘You see,’ she responded, ‘there is no-one in my entire team to whom I can delegate key tasks.’
The reason for that, she explained, was because no-one else (apart from her) ‘possessed the overview of the entire process.’
I rather doubted that, but let it pass. ‘But surely you can train them?’ I asked.
She replied that there was only one person whom she thought could even attempt to take on a delegated role. This, in a team of around 11 people. And, for this one person, she informed me that she had been training her already for the past three years.
That was the problem right there. This middle manager had heaped so much stress upon herself because she didn’t trust her staff enough to delegate to them. Delegation is about empowering people, and she wasn’t at all ready to do it. In her case, it was due to insecurity in her role. She wanted to control everything. She also mentioned to me that ‘no-one else in my team works as fast as I do’. That may or may not be true, but the point is about trusting people and empowering them to rise to new heights. By holding on to everything, she made her life very difficult at work, and ensured that her people were stifled and lacked growth opportunities.
I don’t think she will change her attitude any time soon. I also don’t think she will be relaxing any time soon.