A great definition for delegation could be: Giving up something important so you can focus on something even MORE important. A lot of leaders I know struggle with delegation. I did for many years and still find myself wanting to hold on to things that I shouldn’t. I am continually learning that delegation is one of the most important tools a leader has if he/she wants to become more effective.
Let me point out a few reasons we tell ourselves we can’t delegate something.
1) No one can do this better than I can…
This is something I’ve always said. Until someone comes along who can do it better than I can, I won’t let it go. I imagine that perhaps there is a bit of arrogance behind that statement. I have begun to view this a little differently now. Now I’m trying to find someone who has the POTENTIAL to do it as well as I do it and I’m willing to invest in them. I believe excellence should mark everything we do for God. But maybe our desire to hold on to something is not allowing someone else to grow to that level of excellence. We have to be willing to give someone a chance!
2) But he/she might mess it up…
Another fear we often have to keeps us from delegating is that if we give something up, someone will screw it up. The problem with this is that we put too much trust in ourselves and not enough in God and other people. People will make mistakes. Heck, we all make them. In order to deal with this effective, we must deal with this BEFORE anything is delegated. Before you delegate anything completely, you must be very clear about your expectations UP FRONT! Let people know how they will be successful and what will happen when they are not. It helps avoid any surprises you have to deal with down the line.
3) If I give this up, my responsibility goes down and my stock goes with it.
Perhaps you won’t let go of things because you think it gives you better job security. In truth, the exact opposite happens. Because you take on so many duties and refuse to give up the important ones for even more important ones – your overall performance suffers. Your stock goes down because you aren’t as effective as you could be.
These are just some of the reasons we struggle with delegation. If you want to become more effective, focus on that which is more important. The only way you can do that is through delegation.
Do you struggle to delegate? If so, why?