Fears of the Low Delegators

By Jendayi Harris

You know you’re a poor delegator when: your team has time for social media on the clock, your plate is on overflow or you feel guilty because you’re paying employees without enough return on your investment. Low-delegators, put themselves in a position of high stress, overwhelm, and so much tactical, they can’t stir the ship, department, or business in strategic directions. Putting everyone at risk of shipwreck.

Delegation is skill, not a talent. You can cultivate it, but it requires a personal breakthrough in your need to control. Yes, I said it, you’re a control freak. I understand, you want to do it yourself. After-all, you’re better at it, you can do it faster, and why explain or train when you can be done already.

Recently a female leader admitted her need to delegate. She was doing it all, for no reason. She gave no room for her husband to take the kids to school or prepare meals. She was stressed, losing wanted weight, and tired. Why the stress when she has a ready, willing, able husband who wants to participate, and yet, doesn't give him the trust to do so. Is this empowering?

Eli Broad, American Entrepreneur who built two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up says, “The principle of delegation is about empowering another to act on your behalf. By definition it's to give up control and trust to another. The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.” And, at home too. Few things are worse for a marriage than a do-it-myself'er mom who treats the kids like their just hers.

Think about the talent utilization of your team. Your team members, whether at home or at work, want to feel empowered, valued, and worthy to support you. You want to feel less stressed and overwhelmed. So why aren't you utilizing your support team to full capacity?

One four letter word, F-E-A-R.

Let’s resolve these fears and get your team and you feeling better.

1. Fear your delegate won’t follow through. Solution: Talk to your team member or spouse about this issue, ask, “If I request something, can I trust you to follow through? I really could use help, but I’m concerned I will be let down.” When you put your fear on the table, about his or her ability to follow through, you’ll bridge a relationship gap. Extreme Productivity Author, Robert Pozen says, “The way you delegate is that first you have to hire people that you really have confidence in. You won't truly let those people feel a sense of autonomy if you don't have confidence in them.” People deserve your trust until proven otherwise.

2. Fear your delegate won’t do things the way you do. Solution: Trust they won’t do things like you do. Your pride of things having to be done the same way you do them, will keep you unhappy and stressed out. You can be right, or you can be happy. Take the time to train them how you would like it done, but trust the team member to get the result the way they go about getting the result. There’s several ways to skin a cat.

3. Fear your delegate will mess something up. Solution: Know you can handle it if your delegate does mess something up. Because they may. And if they do, you can take the time to train them to get it right next time. Chances are, if they make a mistake, they will improve. We’ve all been there. Cut some slack.

4. Fear you don’t know what to do when you have less on your plate. Solution: Put your freed up time into figuring out your priorities. The ones that impact your bottom line results. A 30,000 foot view is part of leading in the right direction. You’re in leadership because of your ability to get results, forecast, prioritize, utilize resources well (of the human type) and strategically think. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend 50% of your work time, for thought and execution of strategic priorities?

5. Fear you won’t be as valuable. Solution: Trust you’re more valuable, and likeable, to your team when you’re not at 150% capacity. That spells burnout. Your ability to delegate is essential as a leader and everyday life. When you take on all the burdens, you become a burden, because your attitude sucks and your team or household members resent your superman or super woman approach. I know from personal experience. Everyone has value, and you maximize yours when you maximize the value of others.

6. Fear of the time it takes to train.  Solution: Schedule time to train your help. If you make the investment of time to train well, you'll spend less time fixing mistakes and doing those tasks or projects that your team member is properly trained on. The best result is you empower your team member, and you have less on your plate to worry about. Take the time to show them each step of the process. This works with laundry or your CRM. Doesn't matter. Training is still a worthy investment of your time that wins you dividends time and time again.

7. Fear of receiving help or appearing weak. Solution: Just do it. Ask. We’re not in this alone. We all need help. Don’t you take pride in helping others? Why rob someone of the feel good opportunity to support you? Many adults who started work early in life, did so because they wanted to make a way to support themselves. I was fatherless by age 12. My single mother was busy working to keep a roof over our head. So, I took on much of life by myself. Support wasn’t something I felt I had until I was willing to believe I could have it and then believe I could receive the support offered. To admit, I could use help with this, felt too vulnerable or weak. Ask anyway. People wait in the wings for someone with whom they can support or rally. From your mother, husband, boss, wife, son or your ambitious employee, receive the help you need.

Make the request, sit back and receive the love.

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