Risk Watch with Alberta QUARCOOPOME: You cannot know everything


an effective leader delegates effectively (1)

Even “Super You” needs help and support. There is no shame in asking for assistance. Push aside the pride and show respect for the talent others can bring to the table.

And, remember that there is no such thing as a single-handed success: when you include and acknowledge all those in your corner, you propel yourself, your teammates and your supporters to greater heights.

– Author Unknown

Here are some excerpts from my book worth reading………………….

“Do you feel stressed and overloaded? Or that your career seems stalled? Delegating is often one of the hardest things for a manager to do. You give away your authority to make decisions but are still responsible for the outcome if something goes wrong. You are a manager, you have way too much to do, you’re buried in work, work and work! It seems you are stuck in the deep waters of a vicious cycle. Sometimes you say to yourself. “The future looks bleak and nobody appreciates what I am going through.  I am only forty years old and yet I feel like retiring! It seems there is no solution”. Yes, there is…. DELEGATION- Yes, you know it’s important and it has to be done. You know it will save you time and help others develop new skills. So why aren’t you doing it? Do you find any of these sayings familiar?

Familiar Sayings by Managers

  • “Don’t mind them, they are waiting to take over my post…I won’t let them”
  • “They are paid to take orders from me. I am also paid to do the thinking”.
  • “Even if I go on leave, I will use remote control to monitor them. I will not give them the chance to usurp my post”
  • “They won’t bring their ideas. Some of them are waiting for me to make a mistake, and then they will be called to take over…. They are like ants in my cloth. Always ready to bite”.
  • “How do I know they will get it right. I am more comfortable when I do it myself”.
  • “If I have to scrutinize everything that has been done, its better I do it myself”.
  • “They are not trainable”.
  • “They are already overloaded with work. I hardly have time to train them”
  • “The risk is too high”.

Delegation is a critical skill

Experts say that delegation is a critical skill. “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off,” says Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Even though delegation benefits managers, direct reports, and organizations, it still remains one of the most underutilized and underdeveloped management capabilities.  Company executives are worried about their employees’ delegation skills. Yet at the same time, they are not ready to offer much training on the topic. You hear many managers say that they are too busy to delegate — that it’s more efficient for them to just do it themselves.

Watch for warning signs

According to Amy Gallo, a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and the author of the HBR Guide to Managing Conflict at Work, managers must watch out for the warning signs…“You may not realize that you’re unnecessarily hoarding work. There are warning signs, however. A classic sign of insufficient delegation is that you are working long hours and feel totally indispensable, while your staff isn’t terribly energized and keeps strangely regular hours. You may also feel that your team doesn’t take ownership over projects and that you’re the only one that cares. If they use phrases like, “I’m happy to help you with this,” it may be an indication that you’re doling out tasks, not handing over responsibility”.

Jesse Lyn Stoner’s Reasons Why Delegating Is Worth the Risk.

She states ….

  1. “You can manage your time better and increase your efficiency.
  2. You will stop being inundated with irrelevant details.
  3. You get out of the mode of going from crisis to crisis.
  4. You have more time to think strategically and plan for the future.
  5. You have more time to concentrate on the work that is really important.
  6. Your team has an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge and increase their effectiveness.
  7. You improve the quality of decisions because they are being made by those you have the most information and closer to the situation.
  8. You are seen as more effective because your team is more effective.
  9. You show your team that you have trust and confidence in them, which positively affects their attitudes, interpersonal relationships, and performance.
  10. You increase their commitment to the task, the team and to the company.
  11. You create a pool of talent who can take over whenever needed.
  12. You are more likely to be promoted because it will be easier to fill your position.”

Minimizing Delegation Risks

Are you now ready to delegate? Let us see some “Whys, Whats, Whens, and Hows”s of delegation in order to minimize delegation risks.

What to Delegate

After knowing the above “whys” of delegation, you need to ponder on the following tips which will guide you on what to delegate:

  • Have a discussion with your direct reports and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Seek a view of their skills, interests, and current workload and see how feasible it is.
  • Do not delegate performance evaluations, disciplinary actions, confidential tasks, tasks specifically assigned to you, and sensitive situations.
  • Allow your direct reports to have a say in determining what and when tasks are delegated to them.
  • Create a career development plan for your direct reports by delegating activities that might be part of their future responsibilities. For example, work on strategic reports with them in order for them to appreciate the future of the company and see how they can fit in to offer their best. When you are on leave, they will be submitting these reports on your team’s behalf. Credit eventually goes to you, the manager. It will show that you are a leader and not just a manager.
  • Choose the right people…Some managers fear delegation because they’ve been “burned” in the past. It is important that you pass on work to people who have the necessary skills and are motivated to get the job done right.
  • But make sure you’re not micro-managing, which wastes everyone’s time, including your own. When determining what to delegate, take into consideration:
  1. a) whether they have the skills to do the task
  2. b) if they are motivated to do it, and
  3. c) whether they have the resources they need.

When to delegate

When delegation is done effectively, it becomes a win-win situation. Not everything can be delegated so, do these self-checks:

  • Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information or expertise to complete the task?
  • Does it necessarily have to be done by you?
  • Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop the skills of your direct reports?
  • Will time permit you to train the person and delegate? It should include proper training, orientation, trials and reviews before the handing over and regular checks.
  • Before delegation, you would need to do it with the supervisor for a number of times before delegation. At the unit level, supervisors feel empowered when they have to co-sign reports with the manager, to be submitted to management. It gives them a sense of empowerment and it encourages them that they are part of the solution and not always part of the problem.

Next week we shall look at a case of delegation gone wrong in a financial institution.


For more insights please book a copy of my new book, “THE MODERN BRANCH MANAGER’S COMPANION” which involves the adoption of a multi-disciplinary approach in the practice of today’s branch management. It also shares invaluable insights on the mindset needed to navigate and make a difference in the changing dynamics of the banking industry. Call 0244333051 for your copy.



Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of Three books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story” and “The Modern Branch Manager’s Companion”. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.


Website www.alkanbiz.com

Email:alberta@alkanbiz.com  or [email protected]

Tel: +233-0244333051/+233-0244611343

Leave a Reply