Barriers to Effective Delegation

The problem of delegation is essentially one of human leadership. Delegation is not only a technique of management; it is a part of the attitude of business itself. As such what is necessary is the atmosphere of giving and taking responsibility in the organisation. This is possible by creating an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence. The reluctance of the superior to delegate and the reluctance or avoidance of the subordinates to accept delegation are the major barriers to delegation which are discussed below.

Why are managers reluctant to delegate?

Managers are sometimes reluctant to delegate authority due to the following reasons :

1)     Lack of confidence in the capability of subordinates: A manager may not have confidence in the capability and competence of subordinates. He may consider that he can do the job better than his subordinates.


2)     Lack of confidence in the subordinate’s sense of responsibility: The manager’s lack of confidence in the sense of responsibility of subordinates may also stand in the way of delegation of authority to others.


3)     Fear of loss of power: Managers who feel insecure and fear that if the subordinates perform well they may lose their power, are usually reluctant to delegate.


4)     Lack of self confidence: Some managers may lack self-confidence or may be too conscious of their own incompetence, and therefore, reluctant to delegate authority. This is true in organisations where professional management is lacking.


Why subordinates avoid delegation?

Subordinates are also found to avoid delegation under certain circumstances discussed as below:

1) Reluctance to bear responsibility: Researches have shown that many subordinates prefer controlled existence with minimum responsibility. Such employees are unwilling to accept responsibility which goes with delegation of authority.


2)     Fear of criticism: Another factor which prompts subordinates to avoid responsibility is the fear of criticism for inefficiency or mistakes.


3)     Fear of inadequacy of resources: Many subordinates hesitate to accept responsibility for fear of inadequacy of necessary resources for completion of the task and uncooperative attitude of the delegator.


4)     Lack of motivation: In many cases, the organisational climate is not motivating enough. It prevents subordinates in accepting responsibility. Some studies undertaken in India show that delegator’s love for authority, the tendency on the part of the superiors to hold back information needed by subordinates and delegators’ lack of confidence in the subordinate are important reasons for the reluctance of the subordinate in taking up delegated tasks.

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