Why Aren’t You Delegating?

Effective delegation is one of your most effective efficiency tools—don’t let hesitation stand in your way of using it!

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”—General George Patton

One of the most important skills a smart leader can foster is the ability to effectively delegate. Just as there are numerous, understandable incentives to delegate, easy excuses to avoid assigning tasks cause many leaders to hesitate.

Lack of Trust. Either due to a misconception in understanding delegation or the absence of the skill altogether results in a popular bias – no one can do it as well, as fast, as efficiently as I can. Let me guess. No matter what you have tried the end product from your team has not met your expectations. A bad experience colors our perception as we consider delegating each new task. If we do not trust our team and communicate effectively, they cannot grow and we cannot utilize their talents.

Lack of Training. “I don’t have time to train someone else to do the job.” Ever consider that you do not have time to train due to poor time management? We put off training the task, the deadline is now looming, and we don’t have the time to adequately train someone before the project is due. Sometimes we have to invest a little time in order to save a lot of time. Force yourself to prioritize that small investment, and you gain a trained team able to perform more tasks that save you ever more time.

Lack of Confidence. Are you afraid that someone might be able to do a better job than you at a task? Don’t be! This is, in fact, one of the best reasons to delegate! This is our opportunity to use the different skills your people bring to the team – what they were hired for. It’s also the chance to cross-train and to prepare your successor for moving up.

Lack of Mobility. “I want the company to view me as irreplaceable.” Sound familiar? It’s nice to think our company values us, but the problem with being irreplaceable is quite literally that you can’t be replaced. You want or deserve that big promotion, yet you sit in your old job for years because those higher up say, “We’d really like to promote Joe, but we just can’t do without him in the _____ Department. No one else could ever do the job as well as he can.”

These notions can hinder you from capitalizing on your employees’ talent, place you in a difficult and stagnant organizational position, add to your stress level while minimizing your time to get things done, and keep you stuck thinking you can’t delegate at all. Don’t fall victim to these pitfalls and take every opportunity to develop and practice your delegation skills.