• Michelle Carlen

Surprising Reasons Leaders Don’t Delegate and How To Overcome It

Updated: Mar 22

Recently I attended a women’s entrepreneur and executive mastermind discussion on the topic of Delegation. Several leaders showed great vulnerability in admitting that they have or are currently struggling with how to delegate.


And this is common across the board regardless of what industry you might be in. Delegating is a challenging skill to develop and sharpen. Intuitively, leaders have a sense that delegating could be the key that unlocks further growth and success in their business. The first step in becoming great at delegating is acknowledging you should work on it.


Let’s garner some more perspective and steps to implement quickly to refine your delegating ability.


Why leaders don’t delegate.


For a variety of reasons, but one of the most prominent is fear. Yes, leaders are AFRAID. Afraid of what? Really a range of “what if’s”. Perhaps they think that “they” can do the task better and more quickly themselves. Or they are concerned their direction on what needs to be completed might not be clear. Last, but perhaps most often, they are afraid to take the time to train someone else to do something (because after all, that person still might mess it up and well, they could have saved all this stress and heartache if they did it themselves.)


Yikes! That last one really stands out because its more common than you know. Generally, most leaders desire to empower their teams. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to empower someone when you aren’t willing to invest the time to train them or make training available in another way. As a leader, committing to always doing better for your team is a must if you (and they) are to continue to grow.


How to know when to delegate.


First, identifying when the task at hand is something someone else can do and it will free up resources for you so that you can do what you are best at. Second, when it is something you have no expertise or knowledge of. Last, when it IS something you know about, but don’t enjoy doing and you know you’ll feel relief or happiness if it is delegated.


How to set clear expectations and desired outcomes when delegating.


Start by giving very specific instructions. Set a timeframe and deadline for each task. Outline what the end goal is, the purpose of the task, and any steps to complete it. It seems simple, yet the next few steps are where it is easy to fall short and the process becomes, well, unproductive.

Be ready to continue to the conversation. Be available and open to answer questions that can support whomever you have delegated to. By continuing the conversation, you allow for further clarification and opportunity for easy correction sooner than later.


How to handle if the delegated task or project STILL has gone awry.


If you find that after delegating something and you’ve followed these steps, but still think your employee or partner has fallen short, then it’s time for constructive feedback done so in an encouraging way. Lead with what worked well. Ask if YOU could have communicated further or in a way that would have helped the other person and be opening to adjusting to accommodate that request for the future.


Delegating ultimately builds trust through open communication and by empowering others. This translates into a a positive work environment and stimulates teamwork and creativity of individuals. And it gives you - the LEADER - the ability to better manage your time, energy, and resources. No need to be afraid, delegation is a key to your success. #delegating #delegation #leadershipskills #productivitytips #efficiency #teamwork



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