Delegation Skills: Abdication vs. Delegation

I know that quite a few of you have trouble when it comes to delegating your authority – you’re just afraid to do it. I came across a tidbit of information the other day that I thought might help you. It involved distinguishing the difference between two words: abdication and delegation.

As a manager it is your job to allocate work tasks, whether you keep them for yourself or give them to your team members. When it comes to allocating that work, you can either abdicate or delegate.

When a manager participates in abdication he is giving his team members work that he should really be keeping for himself. This is not good. It doesn’t benefit the team or the project and, in reality, only opens the team up for errors and problems later on down the line.

On the other hand, when a manager delegates work he is giving his team members specific projects that were deliberately designed for the team. The tasks he delegates are designed to help the team members learn about the task and do their jobs more effectively. Tasks that are delegated are meant to help employees grow.

When you look at those two terms it makes the task of delegating a little more palatable. Know the difference between the two words and if you ever find yourself questioning a task just stop and ask yourself – am I abdicating or delegating? The answers will make your task much easier!

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

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