9 Things That Stop Managers from Delegating

As leaders and managers, we know we need to be delegating work, but it’s not always easy to let go.

delegating at work

It seems it’s merely a question of deciding what needs to be passed on and then handing the work off. But a lot of managers and leaders have difficulty knowing exactly what to give away and to whom to give it. Investing the time to mentor others to achieve the desired results can also be a challenge.

But the truth is, leaders cannot move ahead and succeed without delegating, and delegating well.

Do Any of These Apply to You?

Here are nine reasons managers don’t delegate, or don’t delegate as much as they could and should:

  1. They don’t know whom to give the work to.
  2. They don’t have the patience or the time to mentor anyone for this work.
  3. They believe that their perceived value will be reduced in leadership’s eyes if they aren’t the ones doing this work.
  4. They believe that there is no one on their staff who is skilled enough to take the work on.
  5. They enjoy doing the task themselves.
  6. They aren’t sure how they will spend their time if they give this work away.
  7. They like the work to be done fast and accurately, so they prefer to do this work themselves.
  8. They don’t want to overload staff who are already working hard.
  9. The person whom they could give the work to isn’t known or isn’t liked or isn’t trusted by those s/he would be working with.

The High Cost of Holding On

The cost of holding onto work that should be delegated is significant to a manager’s current and future success. If you’re a leader having trouble delegating, here’s some of the cost to you:

  • Doors close for you because you have no time to either grow in the direction you need to in preparation for taking on roles with greater responsibility, or adequately lead in the role you are in presently. Leadership notices that you are caught up in the dailies and may make the assumption that you are not ready to move up, not leadership material, or that a change may be required in your existing leadership role.
  • Leading well becomes a problem. You have neither the time nor the energy to mentor and develop those who work for you. People see that they can’t grow under you and leave for better opportunities elsewhere. Or, they simply stay in place and deliver the minimal amount of work.
  • There’s no time to consider the bigger picture such as future planning, process improvements, resource requirements, and identifying potential problems and constraints because you’re too caught up in the daily detail and firefighting immediate problems and issues.

Let Go of Control and Get Better Results

Delegating allows leaders to grow into roles with greater responsibility; it allows them to come up from the dailies and improve and plan; and it allows the people under them to grow. If you’re a leader who’s finding it hard to delegate, I’ve got a tool for you that I’ll share in my next post. It breaks down the process so you can choose what to delegate and whom to delegate to with confidence and assurance.

Question: Do you recognize any of the above behaviors? Has anything ever stopped you from delegating? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Kristina Stasiuliene

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