This report aims at identifying the recognition and nature of interventions sought in dealing with the work based problem identified earlier. The report delves into the issues of identifying the problem, how it is manifested in the workplace and what can be done to reduce its detrimental effects on the employee productivity and overall organizational performance. The paper also presents an overlook at how the available literature from recognized sources contributed to the progress of this learning experience.
The problem identified to be having a tremendous impact on the employees at the finance department where I work is the lack of delegation. Most of the senior managers at the department fail to delegate their duties to their subordinates which cause low morale and lack of enthusiasm in most of the workers at the department. This problem poses a serious threat to the organizational performance and its ability to deal with competition posed by other players in the industry. I, therefore, embarked on identifying the root causes of the problem and how it could be resolved. Besides being noticed in the finance department, the problem could be evident in other departments in the organization and its effects could undermine the overall welfare of the workers and the organization at large. I knew that identifying the causes of the problem would be a crucial first step in sensitizing my colleagues in the department. It would then be easier to adopt a joint approach in raising our concerns with the managers so that organization policies entrenching work ethic could be adopted.
The Action Learning Set
I shared my views with my colleagues in the finance department and they also concurred that lack of delegation was impacting negatively on most aspects at the workplace. According to Isaacs (1993), it is vital to initiate a dialogue on the issue since thinking together encourages and breeds collaborative thoughts which in effect lead to formulation of coordinated actions. Such behavior is vital in encouraging effective solution to the problem. We brainstormed on various scenarios which could be proposed for adoption as a first step towards solving the problem. Each member of our action learning set had his or her espoused theory which gave proposals that should be adopted in order to solve the problem. I realized that most of them were waiting for an opportunity to air their views and confront the situation though I was aware of differences between their espoused theories and the theories in use, thus, it was crucial to pursue commitment. I reminded the members that it was prudent to critically reflect on our proposals so that they could be implementable within the current organizational set up.
It was also imperative for each member of our learning set to display reflexive skills in problem statement. Reflexivity allows each member of the action learning set to realize the role he/she is supposed to play. It allows the identity of suitable solutions that the researcher can explain and own in a forum. This would be essential when the recommendations made are being outweighed so as to zero on the main ones.
In order to address the problem of lack of delegation I embarked on reviewing the available literature on the subject. I also reviewed the possible activities that action learning sets can embark on in order to come up with relevant solutions to the problem.
In order for delegation to be successful, managers must properly understand their roles and obligations in the organization. They should then know when they should delegate and what roles should be delegated. Leaders in organizations fear delegating some of their roles assuming that they would diminish their authority in the organization (Argyris 1994). Therefore, they develop a conservative mentality and tend to maintain the status quo. Such leaders fail to realize that delegation seeks to improve the output of the organization through ensuring that every individual is handling what he/she can competently manage in order to achieve desirable results.
Managers receptive to delegation must understand that it accords them a chance to develop their careers through guiding and professionally directing their subordinates. The acts of guiding and directing these subordinates place managers in strategic positions to succeed in their professional and leadership roles (Fasano and Kirschenman 2012). Such managerial tasks also enable them to develop a deep understanding of their colleagues and workmates in terms of their strengths, weaknesses and motivations. It cultivates an environment of enhanced interpersonal relationships at the workplace characterized by higher levels of involvement in each employee. The manager has a better capacity to allocate some of his roles and responsibilities to his subordinates more effectively after realizing the capabilities of each employee. He is also able to decide the composition of various teams at the workplace. Eventually, each team becomes multi-talented since the employees with different strengths in different areas are picked for participation..
In order for managers to engage in successful delegation of duties at the workplace, they should acquire precise knowledge on the delegation of duties. Managers must have a better understanding of their competencies so that the duties which they cannot handle can be delegated to other workers who can competently handle them. The manager must then ensure that he/she offers support and freedom to the workers so that they can execute the additional roles professionally and within the timelines set. The main support methods that leaders engage in are providing the required materials for duty performance, advice, information and resources such as finances that ensure smooth execution of responsibilities. The managers must embrace the concurrent aspects of leadership. It requires them to realize that there can be more than one leader within an organization (Cohen and Bradford 1989). Worker groups and teams often choose to have one of their own to direct them and be the link to the management so that they can air any grievances they may have through him. This gives the manager time to concentrate on the matters that he/she can competently handle while other workers are attending to the delegated and/or their usual roles.
Success of delegation in the workplace usually fails due to managers’ incompetence to embrace the leadership qualities that differentiate between a leader and a manager. Managers fail to become efficient leaders in their organizations by being possessive of their roles which they perceive to be the source of their power and authority in the organization. They fail to realize that attending to each and every aspect of their duties leaves them with no time to even delve into other workers performance and tackle the difficulties they may be facing (Manz and Sims 2001). Such organization becomes inefficient since the subordinates develop low perceptions about the willingness of the management to change the status quo. Most of the subordinates develop low self-esteem and lack the morale to put in the efforts required in their jobs. This often leads to low productivity and reduced levels of efficiency. Such leaders become less charismatic and are often characterized by the lack of sense of urgency in taking advantage of opportunities that an organization can exploit in its immediate environment for achieving a greater success (Conger, Kanungo & Menon 2000). They also exhibit low levels of response to potential threats that may be visible to the rivals. They fail to effectively utilize the human resource at the disposal of the organization as they fail to attend to the needs of their subordinates. The subordinates, respectively, perceive such leaders as non-reformers and they are usually regarded as agents of the status quo who have no vision for change. In essence, such leaders are perceived to have failed in both internal and external environmental assessment of the organization they are leading.
Another crucial factor that makes managers fail in adopting delegation is their inability to nurture and formulate an idealized and shared vision for the organization. The managers fail to inspire motivation among their subordinates into how the vision of the organization addresses the follower needs and expectations (Raelin 2001). They fail to articulate any adaptive processes that are required to address the gaps that exist between the aspirations of the subordinates and the existing operational incapacities and deficiencies in the organization. Most of the subordinates feel there the inadequacy in addressing adaptive challenges and, thus, develop low perceptions of any positive results. Such feelings and sentiments reduce the level of collaboration between the stakeholders and often lead to lack of trust and mutual respect between the subordinates and the management. Eventually, organization starts lacking an open culture where reflective practices serve as guiding principles in performance of duties (Heifetz 1998). Low levels of activity and proposals for action are often not critiqued, due to low levels of employees’ involvement and decision making which is often concentrated at the top managerial positions. In turn, management personnel fails to utilize the huge benefits that an organization can achieve through involving all its employees in the assessment, planning and reflection of most of the activities. They fail to accommodate the aspects of distributed leadership and collectivity which require each individual to be a reflection of the organization by being in charge of his/her area of expertise (Gronn 2002).
Critical Action Learning
Critical action learning encourages individuals to work together rather than in isolation. It encourages managers to think of themselves as ‘learning managers’. The members of various teams in the workplace are able to interact more freely and are more willing to learn from one another. Critical action learning enables effective learning of teams and groups in the workplace through solving necessary for daily operations issues and problems (Kramer 2007). The latter is made effective through continuous reviews and allowing the members to offer their insights into the performance of others. Such constructive criticism allows participants to learn through their counterparts and minimizes chances of error in the future.
Managers must ensure the balance of competence, gender, culture and nationalities when composing teams at the workplace. Diversity in the teams increases the ability of such teams to tackle allocated tasks more competently and with more tangible results. Managers must also ensure that the action learning projects which have been undertaken by the teams represent the opportunities that add value to the organization. Both the managers and the team members must envisage the benefits that will accrue to individual members and the organization on the whole from proper execution of the action learning projects. The participants should offer insights through advice and guidance to those who may be undertaking individual projects within the team (Rost 1993). They can also offer valuable information that makes an individual learn new aspects of the problem and proposes efficient ways of solving it. Team members are also able to engage one another during the team projects, which leads to greater realization of the competitive advantage of the organization especially through identification of employees’ competencies and levels of their expertise.
Action learning ensures that participants have the knowledge of how to perform their responsibilities and enhances their process skills through learning various tools that can be employed to solve problems. Some of the tools include communication platforms, conflict resolution, decision making and leadership styles. Action learning ensures the employees are better suited to address their responsibilities through encouraging and cultivating an environment for questioning, reflection and feedback. This creates an enabling environment for transformational learning and development. The members who display any difficulties in absorbing and retaining problem solving skills are assisted by learning coaches.
Steps Taken to Address the Problems and the Outcomes
The main solution to the problem of lack of delegation at the workplace is encouraging managers to embrace effective leadership qualities. The managers have been encouraged to embrace the four qualities of leadership i.e. collective, concurrent, compassionate and collective (Raelin 2010). They should desist from controlling every aspect of the projects undertaken by the finance department. They must realize that they cannot effectively carry out their oversight roles being overburdened with numerous additional responsibilities.
It requires the managers to understand the capabilities of their subordinates so as they can further effectively allocate the tasks. In order to increase the success rate, managers must be clear in their explanations of roles and expectations from their subordinates when allocating them the delegated roles. The instructions should be specific so as to eradicate any chances of complacency and ambiguity.
The manager and the teams should have regular consultations and follow ups . The latter are mainly done through scheduled meetings either weekly or monthly depending on the project. Such meetings do not, however, eradicate the continuous consultations in case of any hindrances. Once the manager has delegated the task, he/she should avoid performing it himself/herself. He/she must demonstrate high level of trust to his/her subordinates and should only supervise and guide them in case of errors. The manager must also show appreciation for achievements made by the subordinates in tackling these delegated roles. He/she should seek their thoughts and ideas about the process which they are now familiar with. Their ideas can be incorporated if they are cost effective.
I have immensely benefited from bringing the problem to the action learning set since I have realized various perspectives that can be used to address the situation. I have also appreciated how vital can the delegation be when embraced by an organization to the extent of becoming a competitive advantage. It enables establishing major differences between the performance and success of organizations operating in the same industry. It is also vital for a job seeker to evaluate the delegation mechanisms before applying for a job, due to the profound impact that the level of delegation has on personal growth and development in one’s career.