Situations when delegation is not possible

Delegation cannot be made or delegation of authority is not appropriate when the following situations occur:

Circumstances when Delegation is not possible?

1. Unavailability of Subordinates: When qualified subordinates are not available to carry out the assigned task;

2. Lack of self confidence: When subordinates are available but they shirk responsibilities due to lack of self confidence; fear of committing mistakes; lack of incentives; desire to play safe, depending on the boss for all decisions;

3. No confidence on subordinate: When a superior has no confidence in his subordinate, he may consider them incapable of doing and taking decisions.

4. When the manager is compelled to maintain direct and absolute control over a certain job;

5. When the manager feels his importance, or when he wants his presence felt everywhere, i.e., his desire to dominate others puts a check on delegation;

6. Small workload: When the work-load is small or when the organization is a one-man show;

7. When an executive himself is incapable of directing the work;

8. Absence of controls: Absence of selective and sensitive controls that give a warning of possible difficulties may also be a reason for non-delegation;

9. Inferiority complex: When the manager himself suffers from a inferiority or fear complex that his subordinates will outshine him, get more recognition and attention;

10. Overburden of work: When the subordinates are already overburdened with work and are unwilling to accept new assignments which call for thinking, initiative and involve more time;

11. Defective organizational structure: When the organization structure is itself defective and the authority – responsibility relationships are not clearly defined; and

12. Inadequate planning: When there is inadequate planning, and infringement of the principle of “Unity of Command”.

However, these reasons do not constitute legitimate grounds for non-delegation of authority. An effective manager should always be willing to delegate authority as needed to accomplish the desired organization objectives but a manager himself cannot evade his own responsibility.

He is directly responsible for:

  • Planning;
  • Organizing;
  • Motivating (counseling, coaching, guiding and leading);
  • Coordinating (assessing and reconciling all personnel involved to secure the best integration of group efforts); and
  • Controlling effectively the work of the subordinates.

In other words, the manager cannot relieve himself of the ultimate responsibility to perform the overall managerial functions.