Barriers to Effective Delegation

Managers regularly grumble that they have excessive to do and too little time in which to do it. Untreated, this feeling leads to tension and supervisory ineffectiveness. Oftentimes, managers could considerably reduce their tension by practicing a critical management ability– delegation. Delegation is among the most essential management skills. Great delegation conserves the time, establishes the subordinates, fosters a successor and encourages. Poor delegation will cause disappointment, de-motivation and failures to attain the task or function.

Although it is easy to recognize the advantages that accumulate from delegation, many managers still resist actually doing it– why? This post will identify what delegation is, the typical barriers to reliable delegation and the solutions to conquer this barriers.

Definition of Delegation: Delegation is designating obligation and authority to somebody in order to finish a plainly specified and agreed job while you maintain supreme obligation for its success. Delegation integrates empowering your teammates through reliable manager ship, and may be directed in any direction and utilized in any organization.

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In business dictionary, delegation is defined as sharing or transfers of authority and the associated duty from a company or superior (who has the right to delegate) to an employee or subordinate.

Typical Barriers to Delegation The most essential action for delegation is to recognize the typical barriers to delegation. These barriers can come from supervisors (leaders), the employee, or the situation. The following part we will go over these barriers in order to conquer them and realize the successful delegation.

Barriers Associated With Manager The greatest barrier to reliable delegation often comes from supervisors.

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They must conquer their anxieties about giving others obligations in order to acquire the benefits of effective delegation. In general, 6 barriers are related with the supervisor.

Time Consuming One of the biggest barriers to delegation is the perception that they do not have enough time to either adequately explain the task or teach the team member the skills necessary for a delegated task. Even though it may take less time to complete that task now, where does which put you the next time the task, must be completed? This feeling is paradoxical, because one of the main benefits of delegation is saving time

Losing Control

People new to delegation often feel as though they are giving up their control. It is a little frightening to allow a team member to complete a task for which you are ultimately responsible. It is this reason that keep supervisors from delegating at first. In this case, supervisor should set up a system for regularly monitoring about a waiting progress toward the expected results. That means to communicate with those to whom you have delegated to check the progress of the task. This method can help supervisor decrease this fear and give supervisor the sense of control.

Fear of Criticism

Supervisor may fear employees’ complaint that they are given too much tasks to do. Supervisor should be wise to pave the way by assessing your employees’ current workloads. After the assessment, supervisor should try to select the tasks and give them better work rather than just more work. Except for the work distribution, supervisor needs to explain to them how the delegated tasks will help them grow more professionally.

“I Can Do Better Attitude”

Supervisors may think that they are the only person who can complete the job successfully. This may be true. But supervisors and their subordinates will never enjoy the considerable benefits of good delegation if supervisors don’t allow them to practice and develop their own skills. Give them some solid on-the-job training and observant feedback. Together supervisor’s good coaching; subordinates’ productivity will dip until they master a new task. Be patient and you will find your members are highly capable!

Delegate Out of a Job

Some people resist delegation because they believe they may delegate themselves out of their job. Actually, the best way to be promoted is to train your replacement. In this way, a supervisor can take a new position or volunteer to take on more challenging tasks without a loss in productivity. So it is obviously that delegation improves productivity but not makes supervisors out of their job.

No Confidence in Team Members

Some supervisors resist delegation because they don’t have faith in their team members. . In this case, supervisor should be sure that he himself does know the capabilities, potential, and limitations of each member so that he could select the most appropriate person for each task. In addition, supervisor should make sure that they have adequately prepared the team members for the tasks they assign. The more prepared they are, the less worried supervisor will be.

Supervisors are not the only one that may be wary of delegation. The team members may also have some anxieties of their own. Next, we will elaborate several barriers to delegation from the employee.

Barriers Related to Employee If supervisors understand their team members’ trouble to accept delegated tasks, they can help them realize the benefits in delegation. Once they begin to succeed, they will be more willing to take on additional responsibilities that supervisors delegate. Here are 6 common barriers posed by team members.

Time Consuming

Some of the team members may feel that they are already putting in extra time for the project. This may be true, so make sure that supervisor are fairly dividing tasks between themselves and all of their team members. If everyone feels overworked, supervisors will have to explain that in order to get the job done; everyone needs to put forth the extra effort.

Not Enough Experience

Some people, especially freshmen or young students, may recognize that they do not have enough experience for the tasks that need to be completed. Supervisors should be impatient with them and create the opportunity for them to growth. Begin by delegating simple tasks so that they will gain confidence with their success. As their skill level increases, supervisors will be able to confidently delegate more difficult tasks to them.

Lack of Confidence

Some of the team members may be afraid that they will make mistakes or fail to accomplish the tasks. In this case, the supervisor has to show confidence in each individual, offer regular encouragement, and make them to understand that the mistakes are opportunities for learning rather than occasions for criticism. Furthermore, explain to them that their progress will be monitored and received feedback in order to correct any mistakes to avoid any serious problems. In this way, the subordinate will confidently carry out his task.

Reluctance to Accept Higher Responsibility

In order to have a successful team, everyone must be flexible and open to delegation. In order to make every team member realize it, supervisors should emphasize the importance of the task and the benefits it will produce. Let them know that their strengths and skills are important to the completion of the task and the success of your team.

Fear of Being a Scapegoat

Some teammates may feel that supervisors will try to pass the blame to them instead of accepting it. The supervisor needs to make sure that the words and actions are coincident. Do not sacrifice your team members to save yourself if something goes wrong. This will cause contempt and resentment as well as an unproductive team. 2.6 Reactions from Other Team Members

When delegating to a team member, they may hesitate because of concerns of jealousy or confrontation from other team members. If this is the case, make sure to back up the delegation with enough authority to get the job done. Also, make sure to delegate tasks fairly among the teammates.

Finally, the environment may pose some barriers to the successful task delegation. In general, these two barriers supervisor may encounter.

Barriers from the Situation

Certain situations may cause barriers to delegation. These situations are most often lack of resources and an unclear hierarchy. If either of these two barriers is present in the situation, make sure to remain flexible and do not blame teammates for failures out of their control.


Money and information are usually quite important to accomplish a task. If budget is limited, try to work around it. Remember to be flexible. Not getting your first choice does not make the whole task a failure. As for the information, everyone knows that wise decision and effective problem solving based on the adequate information. Give employees as much information as possible, so they can make sense of a delegated task. If you are unable to share a specific type of information with employees, delegation may not be an option, and you will have to do the job yourself. 3.2 Hierarchy

In some organizations, it is difficult to understand the lines of authority and responsibility. Staff and faculty members may share responsibilities, and ultimate authority may lie with someone that is not always available. Be aware of the situation and communicate clearly so that you may work to overcome this obstacle.


With the elaboration of the barriers and solutions above, will managers still complain too much work and too less time to accomplish? We think the answer is: “no”. We introduce to them the essential element of being a successful leader – delegation. We assist them to reduce the stress and managerial enhance effectiveness. Leaders need to conquer the barriers from themselves as well as barriers coming from the team member and situation. It is not an easy job for a delegator. When your team members’ successfully complete their assigned tasks, it saves your time and also encourages them to take on new tasks with confidence. Be patient and be persistent. You are able to see the win-win situation in near future.

Cite this page

Barriers to Effective Delegation. (2017, Feb 17). Retrieved from

Barriers to Effective Delegation

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