LEADERSHIP: Top 4 Delegation Myths

This is an area riddled with opportunity for failure. Many managers are indecisive about when to take something on themselves or to hand the task to their team. INDECISION in this area, can lead to problems as surely as making the WRONG decision. As a result, many managers will choose to perform the task themselves and inevitably drop the ball on other priorities.


There are some basic myths about delegation that we can eliminate in order to keep us out of trouble.


  1. “I can do it myself more quickly than it will take to train someone else.”

That may be true, but how many times can you afford to do it yourself? It makes little sense to hire a team and then refuse to let them do their jobs. Is it really about efficiency or is it more about maintaining control? Doing everything yourself doesn’t make you a great leader. It just makes you really tired.


  1. "They won’t do as good a job or they won’t do it like I would."

They may NOT do as good a job as you would. Was your execution perfect the first time you performed the same task? How will your team evolve if you don’t assign them tasks that stretch their abilities and foster their growth? They may not necessarily do it the way you would, but is that really a requirement? Is your way the only way to achieve the desired outcome? Great leaders achieve higher levels of success when they trust and empower their team to get things done.


Delegation is having the courage to give up control of a critical task in order to foster efficiency and team growth.”


  1. "Good leaders are willing to “roll up their sleeves” to get the job done."

That’s absolutely true on a basic level, but let me ask you one question. While you’re busy rolling up your sleeves, and “getting it done,” who’s steering the ship? A good leader is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, but spending too much time at the tactical level is a recipe for failure. While you’re busy washing dishes, who’s greeting the customers, or ensuring orders are filled?

  1. "I lead by example. I want to show my team that I’m willing to get my hands dirty."

It’s admirable to “work in the trenches” with your team but sustained immersion in tactical activity can create a different kind of problem. Your team needs you to provide direction, to remove obstacles, to coach, encourage and reward them. We’ve discussed in separate training the need to “live in your teams’ environment” but if you are performing the same tasks along with them on a regular basis there’s probably something else you are not doing. Leading by example is more about integrity and personal behavior than performing the same role as your team day in and day out.


To summarize, all of these things aren’t fundamentally wrong, but they are often overused to the point of being detrimental to team engagement. Teamwork is about engaging others to efficiently complete a task. You can’t get there without delegation.

Wrap up:

So that covers some of the delegation myths that prevent managers from being great leaders. Keep an eye out for part 2 on delegation where we’ll cover the top 3 questions you can ask yourself to determine whether “to delegate or not to delegate”.


Do you agree? Let me know what you think. I would love to hear your unique perspective.


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