Why Aren’t You Delegating?

By: Anne Dranitsaris
December 17, 2018 
  5 min read 

Delegation is the assignment of any responsibility or authority to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. It’s a shift of decision-making and authority from one organizational level to another. It is the only solution to cope with an increasing workload from and for managers as the organizations grow. Delegation is not just handing jobs off, it is considered to be an approach to increase productivity and for the team to reach their potential.

Delegating to others provides a number of positive outcomes for you and your team. First and foremost, it leaves you free to do work critical to leading. It also provides the opportunity for direct reports to master new tasks and develop team capacity. It relieves the bottleneck that happens when decisions are centralized at the top, leading to inefficient work flow.

In not delegating, not only are you are taking away an opportunity for a team member to step up and learn something, to demonstrate their talents to you and the rest of the team – you are also not working smart.

Knowing the benefits of delegating doesn’t cause leaders to delegate more. When we don’t delegate, (and choose instead to do the work ourselves, no matter how overwhelmed or over-packed our schedules) we might be sending a message that:

You don’t think anyone’s smart enough or capable enough to do what you do.

You believe others should work the way you do, not ask for help and work long hours.

 You don’t really care about developing your people.

They are dead ended in their career and won’t get growth opportunities.

 You are a control freak.

Here are the 6 main reasons why people don’t delegate:
  1. Fear of Letting Go/Trusting

Many leaders need to be in control and have difficulty trusting that direct reports will do it as well or as fast as they do. While they won’t be able to initially, if you never teach and coach them how to take over a task, they never will. 

  1. Insecurity

While we don’t tend to think of leaders as feeling insecure, a lack of delegation can be driven by their need to affirm their relevance by being busy, productive or the person everyone depends on. This is codependence, not leadership. If you don’t have a second in command or aren’t developing your replacement, you are sacrificing long term career goals for instant gratification.

  1. Lack of Know-How

Not all leaders know how to train or communicate expectations and coach performance. Instead of getting the training they need, they avoid delegation instead making excuses as to why they aren’t. Not enough time is often stated rather than I don’t know how to.”

  1. Lack of Confidence in Subordinates

This reason is a direct result of all the above reasons. Let’s face it. If you aren’t training direct reports or giving them stretch goals, you will never really feel confident in their performance. If you haven’t hired people with the right skill set for the tasks you need to delegate, perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board and hire the talent you need.

  1. Lack of Ability to be Directive

Effective leadership requires the ability to define expectations clearly, to direct and redirect employee performance. If you are allowing poor performance from employees, not delivering expectations or correcting them when they don’t comply, or making excuses for them, it’s time to do some leadership coaching to help you lead, delegate effectively and bring out the best performance possible from your people.

  1. Not Enough Time

This is a catch all excuse and is equal to saying, “I don’t have time to lead.” If you aren’t actively developing bench strength underneath you by delegating, coaching and distributing decision making, you are always vulnerable to the loss of employees. When leaders don’t have a clear plan to develop their team, the status quo is maintained, and no one is happy. Especially the leader who is the only one who has the power to lead, develop and empower employees differently.

At Caliber, we offer a wide range of leadership development and coaching programs for individuals and organizations that build the skills leaders need to delegate effectively.   LEARN MORE > > >

Caliber Leadership Systems is a Toronto & San Diego based firm specializing in behavioural change and leadership development. The co-founders have written over a hundred books on personality development, behavioural change and achieving potential including Who Are You Meant to Be?. Their new book, So, You Think You Can Lead?, was released on April 17, 2019. Get Your Copy Today! Visit our programs page to learn more about our leadership development & coaching programs or contact [email protected] for a free consultation.