How Not Delegating Can Hurt You as a Leader

Leaders have a tough job trying to balance their workload and meet the expectations of the organization in terms of delivering on overall productivity and profitability.

However, many leaders are guilty of trying to do everything themselves, which not only serves to put them on the path to burnout, but if they are constantly overwhelmed, they will actually be working against their strengths.

Deciding what kind of tasks to delegate can be challenging. Especially for those who have a hard time releasing control to others, so let’s take a look at why some leaders find it so hard to delegate.

The Delegation Dilemma

Delegating to others can be difficult for many reasons:

  • The control itch — Many leaders become very uncomfortable with the thought of delegating. Trust is a big factor here. They may not feel confident that someone else can deliver to their standards, manage, and make decisions that will align with the leader’s expectations.

  • The accountability angst — Leaders often hesitate to delegate because they know their overall performance might be judged by how well their delegates perform. When things go right, they get to share the success, but if something goes wrong, the leader is held fully accountable.

  • The time factor — To feel confident about delegating decisions and tasks, leaders need to support and mentor their people effectively. This takes time and energy that might seem too costly when a leader could simply take on the challenges themselves. However, in the end, delegating will make for a more robust team who can divide and conquer with confidence.

As with other leadership skills, delegation is something you must embrace and encourage to be successful as a leader. 

Your job is to serve others and build collaborative and trusting relationships. Otherwise, you are effectively hurting your organization by creating a culture fueled by fear, control, and distrust.

As mentioned, burnout is a common symptom of the failure to delegate. You only have so much energy and time to give, and when you’re running on empty, you not only hurt your organization with poor decisions; you deplete your energy and leave yourself vulnerable to fatigue and other manifestations of burnout. And in today’s workplace you cannot afford to take this chance.

How to Become an Effective Delegator

If you’re struggling with delegating, here are some tips that can help you find the proper balance, preserve your energy, build trust with your people, and make your organization run much more smoothly:

  1. Start with baby steps — What can you have someone else do right now that will take something off your plate without causing you too much stress? Delegate one thing at a time and use it as a practice to become more comfortable with the process.

  2. Take the time to teach others — Showing your people how to perform a task properly may seem like a waste of time when you know you could do it faster, however, if you take a little extra time to help someone else feel comfortable doing it, it’s an investment in improving productivity. Not only that, but you will demonstrate trust and your team will feel more included in overall organizational goals.

  3. Review their strengths and weaknesses — This is where a highly developed sense of emotional intelligence, or EQ, comes in. Pay attention to your team. Who among them is super detailed and organized? Who are the creative ones? Which people seem to have a knack for collaboration? In what areas do your individual team members struggle? Use your observations to inform how you delegate and you’ll become an expert at choosing the perfect person for the job.

  4. Check in often and be sure to follow through — Effective communication should be at the center of every interaction you have with your people. Be ready to answer questions and provide ongoing feedback. If your team is afraid to ask, you’ll only stall the process, and nothing will be achieved, so be a leader and check in.

  5. Pay attention to innovation — Delegation might sound boring to some people, but we encourage you to look at it another way. It is about infusing fresh energy and ideas to tasks and allowing others to do the same. Maybe there is a quicker way something can be done or a more robust way to communicate the outcome to others. Let your employees develop ideas and solutions that can be integrated into the business that will benefit them and everyone else around them.  

Need Help Delegating?

If you are challenged with effectively delegating to others, you’re not alone. There are specific strategies that can be customized to your work situation. Please reach out to me and let’s have a conversation so you can feel more at ease.

You can reach me at 1-855-871-3374 or email me at

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