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Are You Sometimes Reluctant to Delegate?

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Do you find yourself drowning in work that you could have easily delegated to other members of your team? Why is it so hard to hand over tasks to others?

If you are feeling stress because your team is not achieving to their potential, examine your level of delegation. Is one of these reasons holding you back? As Ronald Reagan said, “Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way.” But at times, you may find this difficult to do. Here are three key reasons, I have found that people fail to delegate.

1. A desire to maintain control. If a leader tries to maintain control through involvement in all the details, the team will be limited in their success. A leader will be more likely to embrace delegation if they can develop their leadership knowledge and skills. Moving the focus from task success to team success can unleash amazing results.

2. A belief that the team does not have the required knowledge. This can be a valid reason to stay more involved with a team. But as a leader, you should be focused on getting your team the education they need to be successful. A leader’s worth is not in the knowledge they hold, but in the knowledge they share.

3. A belief that the team does not share your values. This may be the hardest challenge for a leader to overcome. Teams need shared values. However, not all values will be shared. Individual values also play a part in the strength of a team. To overcome this delegation roadblock a leader must be able to identify the difference between key team values, and supporting individual values. A leader will be more successful if they embrace the diversity of individuals within a framework of strong team values.


© Flickr user John Loo

Many entrepreneurs find themselves stuck when they realize that it’s time to begin trusting coworkers and employees with duties they themselves would normally handle. Think you’re the only control freak out there? Think again! Entrepreneur talked about this very issue in one of their articles and provided some really great insight:

If these considerations are too abstract for you, here’s a quick checklist to run down if you’re considering delegating a task:

  • Is your task list too long? Do you have too much to do? Check your biases and stresses here, and if the answer is yes, continue.
  • Can this be delegated right now? If you can delegate a particular task to someone who knows how to do it, excellent. That’s one less thing to worry about.
  • Can this be delegated cost effectively? If you delegate the task to an employee, freelancer or management service, will it cost less than it would if you were the one taking care of it? Will you pay less than your relative hourly rate? If so, delegating it is worth it.
  • Will this be a problem again; and if so, is it a problem worth preventing? If nobody knows how to do the necessary tasks, and your training or hiring will cost more than your hourly rate, consider the future value that training will have.

Using this quick checklist is a great way to begin the process of delegating. Trust that you have surrounded yourself with great, like-minded people who can help you achieve your goals.

Of course, delegating something is no guarantee it will be done correctly, on time, or even completed at all. But part of leadership is giving people the chance to fail and break your trust. And delegating is the only way you can grow your influence and your organization beyond what you can personally do. So reach out, ask for help, and work through what you get back.

It’s worth it!

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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