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5 Common Delegation Misconceptions (Delegation Series 3/4)

What is stopping you from delegating?

While some managers are aware that it is practically impossible to do everything effectively on their own, they may still choose not to delegate because they hold overpowering preconceived notions.  Shattering these limiting beliefs can be the first step to being a master delegator.  

Let’s jump into top delegation misconceptions:

1. No Time. Many people feel that it is more efficient for them to do it themselves instead of taking the time to delegate, but while there is an initial time investment at the upfront, the long term-term savings can be substantial.  Sure, it may take you an hour to delegate something effectively that could take you 20 minutes to complete, but if it is an ongoing task that they can now do several times a month, how much time have you saved yourself? When you set up systems and structures, it allows for quicker execution for the current project and a general template that you can use for the future. Jenny Black, Author of Pivot shares how delegation allowed her to triple her income in 2013 and helped her learn even more about her business in the process.

2. Incompetent Team.  When you allow people to tap into their capacities, they may pleasantly surprise you.  Churchill said, “if you should influence another, impute a quality to him that he does not have and he will do everything to prove you are right.” Investing in their development and connecting the new skills to their career advancement could be just the impetus needed to get them to engage and level up.

3. You are the only one who can do the best job. Managers who have high standards find it difficult to let other people do their jobs.  They feel if they have to spend time reviewing the quality, it may be easier to do it themselves.  This type of thinking can set a bad tone because it can cause resentment and distrust and even enable delegates to be less diligent if they know their work will be triple checked, and that their boss will intervene at every step.  The better approach is to support the employee in developing their skillset and raising their quality. If somebody else can do the assignment 70-80% as well as you, delegate it so you can free yourself up to do those few tasks that only you can do and so you can advance your skills. It is also a way to break from some possible perfectionist tendencies and move more toward a pragmatic and efficient approach. There is only so much time in one day, ask yourself, where do you want to put your energy? If relinquishing control is a challenge, you can start with the tasks that are simple, routine, and which you have already mastered.

4. You do not want to feel dispensable.  Sometimes there is a need to take on too much to maintain a feeling of importance. Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Pfeffer calls this self-enhancement bias, which is about believing that passing on work will detract from your importance.  For others, it can manifest in a lack of self-confidence and the fear of being upstaged by subordinates.  However, supporting people to be their best would not only look great for you as a leader, but it is simply the right thing to do. Imagine if you are the leader who is known for consistently getting others promoted?

Accepting that you cannot do everything yourself is a critical first step to delegating.  While there can be some risks in deciding to delegate, the payoffs for your team, your organization, and yourself can be far more rewarding.  It could end up being the decision in which you are proudest.

Quote of the Day: “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”– John C. Maxwell, Author

The time to delegate is now

Q: What is your biggest concern you have when it comes to delegation?  Comment and share your thoughts, we would love to hear from you!

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