What’s so difficult about delegating?

A number of my clients are growing at the moment and with that comes growing pains. The most common growing pain that I am hearing at the moment and that I am helping my clients with is that the MD’s or CEO’s are struggling to delegate their responsibilities onto their management team. When they do delegate, things go wrong, so they swoop in, fix it all again, and then continue to ask why they can’t delegate! Sound familiar? However, if you want to have the time to manage a successful team or a successful business, then you will have to learn the art of delegation and it is an art or a skill which can be learnt.

Easier said than done I hear you say, but trust me I do know as I have managed my own teams for many years and as a little bit of a control freak, this was really hard for me to do too, and here are some of the excuses I made so as NOT to delegate. See how many of them resonate with you.

  1. I felt that if I delegated something to a team member they would think it was because I couldn’t do it or didn’t have the time to do it, and therefore wouldn’t be seen to be good at my own role. I now see delegation as an opportunity for someone else to learn and grow. Being a great manager is about letting people grow and develop, and there is nothing better than seeing people you manage achieve success that you know has been because you gave them the opportunity.
  2. No-one else did as good a job as me, so why delegate it when I can do it better myself? The problem with this approach is, and I see it a lot with my clients, is that you try to do it all, and the risk of not doing a great job, letting people down as you don’t have the time to do it all, and things start to get behind. You make yourself ill, both mentally and physically as you are doing too much. So what happens if you are really ill and can’t run the business? Where’s the succession plan there? Think of delegation as part of your succession planning. You’re teaching your managers how to manage more, which ultimately gives you the time to spend on the right things.
  3. As a control freak, I worried about losing control when I delegated. But that doesn’t mean you’re not interested in what’s going on and you can check in with people to see how they are doing, but DON’T micromanage them, otherwise they will feel that you don’t trust them to do the job on their own. Leave them to it, with the caveat that if they need your help, they just have to ask.
  4. By the time I have explained to them how to do it, I could have done it myself! That old chestnut is what I hear a lot! Do you know what? This may be true, but that means that you will never give anyone else any responsibility for anything! You need to invest some time to look at what needs to be delegated, give people enough information to learn what it is you want them to take on, make a few mistakes, learn again and then take ownership of this task. None of this happens overnight, so be prepared to invest the time, as the pay backs will be worth it.

If this is something that is stopping you in your business, then why not give me a call to discuss how I can help you and your management team to learn to delegate.