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3-Step Recipe for Not Delegating. Be a Bad Manager.

I posted here yesterday about what makes a good manager. I asked whether you are a good manager, and how you would know if you aren’t.

One thing I’ve thought of since is one way to tell you aren’t a good manager. Sometimes the negatives are easier. And although I can’t imagine all the different ways you could be a bad manager, I’m at least quite sure that one way is to pretend to delegate without actually delegating. What is that? Here’s how, step by step:

  1. Tell somebody they’re in charge of something.
  2. Wait.
  3. When it’s done, tell them what you would have done instead.

I can pretty much guarantee the result of this kind of management: your victims will stop making decisions on their own. Over time, you’ll end up frustrated that nobody thinks for themselves anymore. Everybody has to ask you everything. You’ll ask: “what’s wrong with them all?” And the answer will be: you.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking: there’s something wrong with my number 3, because you have to tell people what went wrong. You have to analyze results, right? Isn’t that management? Or do you just shut up? The answer is you analyze results without suggesting you would have made different choices if you’d done it yourself. Learn this line: “good decisions sometimes have bad results.”


  • rob says:

    This is excellent advice especially for the huge numbers of micro-managers out there. If you feel the need to make suggestions on how you would do something make those before you let them loose on the project. If the project processes are laid out in advance you’ll have much fewer problems with delegation. Clear and concise demand is the difference between delegation and abdication. Abdication very rarely achieves the results you desire.

  • Luyonjo Stephen says:

    Hi there.
    Its been a good article. Am only confused that I’ll have to delegate without having to allocate responsibility to someone – Step 1.
    How am I to do it?

  • Strategic Growth Advisors says:

    I agree with your post, Tim.

    Even though you are delegating a task for someone to take over, it will surely end in disaster if you will not provide adequate supervision. The worst case scenario is you’ll be ending up moping in a corner wondering why you haven’t done the said task yourself.

    This post calls to mind a common yet hard-hitting adage (especially with all this discussion of good and bad managers): “To be a good leader, you should also be a good follower — and vice versa.”

  • 3-Step Recipe for Not Delegating. Be a Bad Manager. says:

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