The excuses we tell ourselves and others are endless as to why we don’t delegate more. From “It takes more time to give to someone else than to do it myself” to “nobody else will do it as well as me.” On top of those, there are also excuses that we keep quiet and maybe don’t even recognize as an excuse – such as fear.
There may be valid reasons to not delegate something to someone else. However, for every one of those excuses, there can be at least one corresponding reason why you should push yourself to delegate. From doing what is best for the company to doing what is best for your own career path, delegating to others has many benefits.
Here is a brief review of just some of the excuses I have heard over time (and believe me, I’ve used these excuses too!) along with a way for us to change our thinking and use these excuses as a springboard for delegation.
- Excuse: “By the time I teach someone, I could just get it done.”
- Change your thinking: If you never teach others, you will be stuck doing that thing forever, and this could get in the way of your own growth at the company and in your overall career.
- Excuse: “Nobody can do it as good as me.” Also, “I’ll just end up having to fix it anyway.”
- Change your thinking: If you are that good at it, then you are the perfect person to teach others to do it well and by doing that, you are building a strong team and helping others to learn and grow as well!
- Excuse: “They are so busy, I feel bad asking them”
- Change your thinking: Does anyone ever hesitate to ask YOU to do things? Also, are you sure they are really so busy they don’t have room for another task? Lastly, do you KNOW they are super busy, or did they TELL you they were super busy?”
- Excuse: “I want the credit”
- Change your thinking: You will get the credit by building up a successful team of people who can do the things that previously only you knew how to do. A good leader is recognized by their strong team, not by doing everything themselves.
PAST EXPERIENCE WITH THAT EMPLOYEE:
- Excuse: “Asking this person to do something is usually met with resistance”
- Change your thinking: This person will never improve if you avoid them (and neither will you!). Delegating to them, despite the resistance, is the only way for that employee to prove to you that they can (or can’t) do it.
- Excuse: “It won’t get done or done on time”
- Change your thinking: It’s up to you to hold others accountable for meeting deadlines. Set a clear deadline, do it respectfully, and then check to ensure it was done (or if you think it’s in danger of not being done, check in prior to the deadline).
LOSING MY OWN VALUE TO COMPANY:
- Excuse: “If someone else does this, then the company might fire me because I’m not useful anymore.”
- Change your thinking: You may eventually become less valuable to the company if you are still doing the same things years from now instead of growing your skills (see “Time” above).
THIS EMPLOYEE USED TO BE A PEER:
- Excuse: “It’s hard to ask someone to do something when they used to be my co-worker.”
- Change your thinking: You’ll never stop ”being their co-worker” if you don’t take on the role of being their manager.
BONUS - MY ROLE DOESN’T ALLOW FOR DELEGATION:
- Excuse: “I’m not a manager, so I’m not allowed to delegate to others.”
- Change your thinking: Delegation is not just for managers! If it makes you feel better about it, say “I need a favor” or “I could really use your expertise on this.” By enlisting the help of others, you are not overstepping boundaries, you are not falling into any of the traps listed above, and you are helping yourself learn and grow and be more valuable to your employer.
Want to start delegating more today? Make a list of those items that you are still doing that could be done by others and start teaching them!
David Freedman, SHRM-SCP