Delegation: Allow Mistakes – What Readers Say

The post “Delegation: Allow People To Make Mistakes” has drawn some interesting comments.  We thought it would useful to put these together and see what emerges.

Two comments, from Ramesh Krishnan and Dr Madhu Oswal, tell us that delegation should not be at the cost of quality of the work.  Delegation does not mean giving up.

Ramesh Krishnan

Agree on the ‘art’ of delegation and the important pieces to keep in mind while getting your team to get to do the tasks that you want them to start doing. I dont agree with your view point that it would help bring down your quality parameters just because your team could not reach there or are not looking equipped to do that. You have mixed up 2 messages here, I think. One is why and how should one delegate and the other is to reconcile and be happy.

Dr Madhu Oswal

I prefer to differ.

Delegation is not simply “giving up” a task to others because you have got tired or bored. More so if you believe its an important task. It is an active process of handing over a “defined ” work to a rightly selected person in a phase manner that involves active training, briefing, checking understanding, supporting when asked for and lastly still controlling in a sensitive way. I would like to know if you have delegated in this way and then allowed that person to make mistakes”?

On the other hand, here is what Manisha Gutman has to say….

The problem with ‘perfectionism’ is that it focuses so much on the task that the person doing the task is forgotten. If the growth of the individual is as much part of the task at hand then one need not compromise on quality. One needs to inspire the individual to work towards getting better, and experience the joy of doing things well. I agree with Bhushan that this may not be first priority but it also cannot be knocked off the list of expectations entirely. Successful delegation recognises the strengths of each individual but also helps them understand and overcome their weaknesses. In this way, the work gets better and the individual grows too. Everyone may not want to ‘grow’ however….

Her points focus more on the aspect of personal growth.  It can be seen as a process for growth of the individuals concerned, while being mindful of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses.  It also acknowledges that growth cannot be forced against a person’s wish.

A very interesting point made here by Ajay Kapoor: the biggest hurdle is from within ourselves. Our fear of impact on others’ perception  (“Log kya sochenge”) may make us risk averse.  A careful cost benefit analysis may reveal where it is ok to take such risks.

Ajay Kapoor

The concept of delegation is brilliantly described by Bhushan. However, in my view, letting certain mistakes go past is one side of the story. We , most of the times, get bogged down by the sense of how will others look at this and what will they think about me and my organisation. So, precisely, it is a cost benefit abalysis that we need to do before we comploetely delegate and not bother too much about perfection. Perfection at what cost? Who is perfect any way?

Post Script

I am going to go out on a limb here and say “Even when we fully know that our junior is going to make a serious mistake, it may still make sense to delegate. “  I have tried it.

What do you think?


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