(Time to read this article is about 90 seconds)

One of the biggest problems in many businesses today is that ‘the boss’ won’t delegate. This ‘boss’ could be the business owner, a department manager or a supervisor.

The result is that things don’t get done, problems don’t get solved, opportunities get missed, customers get frustrated and go elsewhere, talented, initiative-taking employees leave in frustration and the business slowly grinds to a halt.  Sadly, I see a lot of this in my business coaching work!

So, why does this happen?  Why do ‘bosses’ fail to delegate?  In my 40 years of experience in business and in coaching businesses around the world, below are the top 10 reasons for not delegating.  

  1. Fear that someone else won’t do it as well as I would.
  2. Fear that someone else will do it differently than me and, of course, my way is the only ‘right’ way.
  3. Fear that someone else might do it better than me and that will embarrass me or expose my incompetence.
  4. If I delegate, I’ll lose control.
  5. I don’t have time to train people. It’s just easier to do it myself.

       Note: The problem with this that we can’t grow our business without growing our people.

  1. A fundamental belief that, ‘You can’t find good people anymore’, so I’ve given up.
  2. I/we don’t have the ability or process to spot and attract top talent, so most of our staff are not competent to take on additional responsibility or projects. Or, we don’t pay enough to attract and keep top talent.
  3. I feel threatened by really bright people, so I hire people who know less than I do and who do what they’re told. And, besides, it feels good to be the ‘go to’ person when problems arise. 
    Warning:  ‘We become what we hire’. If we hire 1st rate people, we become a 1st rate business, one recruitment at a time.  If we hire 2nd and 3rd rate people, we become a 2nd or 3rd rate business…and we’re in big trouble!
  4. I don’t delegate certain tasks because I feel comfortable doing them myself. They keep me too busy to tackle the more difficult, high-value tasks that I really should be doing…but which I’m not sure how to handle.
  5. I don’t delegate certain tasks because they keep me busy so I don’t have to go home to an unhappy situation. The business has become my ‘neat fort’ and I need to keep it that way. The business is where I feel safe, secure, important, comfortable and in control.

When we don’t delegate, or don’t delegate effectively, we severely limit our possibilities.  Specifically, we limit our career, our income, our business and our life.  We get bogged down and, eventually, burnt out trying to do it all ourselves.

How many of the ‘10 reasons for not delegating’ listed above have you seen in your business life?  Which ones apply to you and what does that tell you about how and where you need to rethink and refocus?  What assumptions and attitudes might need challenging to improve your management effectiveness, grow your business…and improve your quality of life?  This important work is at the heart of much of my Biz Coaching work.

So, how will you delegate more to get more done, grow your people and your business and have more time to have a life?  You can’t grow your business without growing your people…and without growing yourself.

About Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper, MBA, CSP, HoF: Donald speaks and coaches in over 40 industries throughout the world.  He delivers the ‘straight goods’ on how to sell more, manage smarter, grow your bottom line...and have a life!  To chat about ‘possibilities’ for your next business or Industry Association Conference, call me at 416-252-3703 in Toronto, or click here to connect to our ‘Enquiry Page’.  

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