top of page
Search

The 3 common lies that are keeping you from delegating.

Full disclosure…I spent most of my career in corporate as a terrible delegator. I spent too much time, for too many years, doing things I could have delegated. It’s the reason I was at my best as a leader, when I had no technical competence in the area I was leading – I had to leverage my team (compared to running a finance team as a CPA, where I could just go get it done the way I wanted…so I did).


I held a lot of beliefs during those years – convenient beliefs that helped me stay the same, and stay comfortable with my Do-It-Myself approach, and in today’s article, I’m tackling the three most compelling.


Maybe they’ll sound familiar…


1) It will take me longer to delegate it than to do it myself.

2) My team members are too overwhelmed with their own work.

3) The quality will be better if I do it myself.




These narratives keep us in the status quo because they are sometimes true.


But “sometimes true” is not the same as true.


As I matured in my leadership roles, I realized this is more accurate:


1) It will take me longer to delegate than do it…sometimes.

2) My team members are too overwhelmed…periodically.

3) The quality will be better if I do it myself…maybe.


And as I matured even more, I realized the truth was this:


1) It will take me longer to delegate than do it…rarely.

2) My team members are too overwhelmed…seldom.

3) The quality will be better if I do it myself…once in a while.


What changed, as I matured in my leadership role?


I acknowledged the beliefs beneath my beliefs...not becuase I wanted to, but because I had to. People kept proving me wrong! They delivered better work than I could. They did things faster than I could. They called me out when I told them I did it myself because "You were too busy."


Here’s what was going on beneath the surface of all my great reasons for not delegating.


1) It will take me longer to delegate it than to do it.

When this was true for me, it was because I sucked at delegating. I didn’t know how to have a straightforward conversation with someone about what I’d like their help with. I was afraid of sounding pushy, or bossy. I was afraid they wouldn’t like me. I was afraid they’d think I thought I was more important than them.


The truth? A simple task – something that would take me less than 10 minutes to do – took me 2-3 minutes to delegate once I got clear and direct with people.


2) The quality will be better if I do it myself.

When this was true for me, it was because I sucked at delegating. I didn’t know how to ask specifically for the outcome I wanted. I was afraid I’d sound like a micro-manager. Sometimes I didn’t know what I wanted, and I didn’t want the other person to realize it.


The truth? Whether it’s me doing it, or someone else, the definition of success needs to happen upfront. I started doing this for things I intended to do myself, and suddently delegating it to someone else became a no-brainer.


3) My team members are already overwhelmed with their own work.

When this was true for me, it was because I sucked at delegating. I didn’t know how to help my team members re-align priorities. I was afraid they would push back, and I wouldn’t know what to say. I was afraid they would think me insensitive to their workloads. So, I made the decision for them.


The truth? Having an honest conversation about priorities and workload is never a waste of time, and delegating opens the door for the conversation to happen more often.


Here’s what I wish I’d realized earlier in my career:

Even if these had been true most of the time, they were not helpful any of the time.

They did not serve me well because they did not lead to good decisions. So…even if it’s true, if it’s not helpful to becoming a great leader, why not replace them with a different narrative?


What would you delegate if you knew it would not fail?


What if you started delegating from this frame of reference? This line of thinking is much more likely to lead to decisions that boost engagement, build skill, grow capacity and make you the kind of leader you’d want to work for. Happy delegating.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My name is Laura Vaughan. I'm a CPA, a former CEO and I elevate the world's managers so they can do three things in your business: 1) Deliver Consistent Results, 2) Nurture Key Relationships and 3) Drive Strategic Growth. Ask me about The Skillful Manager Program - high-impact, low-time-intensive training for your top team.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

50 views0 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page