Home » Why Is It so Hard for Executives to Delegate?

Why Is It so Hard for Executives to Delegate?

Why Is It so Hard for Executives to Delegate - Elevate Corporate Training Australia
Home » Why Is It so Hard for Executives to Delegate?

You know you can’t do everything yourself.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to take care of everything and you also know you’ve got bigger things to worry about.  So why is it so hard for executives to delegate?

  • You know you can do the job better than anyone else.
  • Delegating may equal accepting substandard work.
  • It might be hard to admit that someone else can do the job as well or better than you.
  • You don’t want to be upstaged by subordinates.
  • You need to do this type of work to validate your worth.

When you believe any of these things, it can be extremely difficult to trust other people to get the job done right.

Delegating can be tough.  Great leaders learn it is part of the process and is crucial to their success.

Why Delegating Is So Important

One of the most important jobs you have as a leader is to teach others how to think for themselves.  If you’re constantly handling tasks for your team, when will they learn to do them on their own?

1. Benefits For Executives

There are other significant benefits for you delegating as an executive:

  • Good leaders need to focus on goals and outcomes and not just tasks.  You need to focus on the bigger picture.
  • Good leaders train their teams to do great work.  Delegating can improve the quantity of work your team can handle.
  • Delegating will relieve some of the stress and give you more time to do your job.
  • It establishes trust with team members.  When you demonstrate that you trust them with projects, you are strengthening your bond and enhancing your credibility.

2. Benefits For Team Members

Delegating provides benefits for team members:

  • Delegating helps improve team members’ job skills and can lead to more engagement. 
  • You are helping them grow in your business and their career. 
  • You are building team members’ self-esteem by showing them you trust them.
  • As you trust team members with more authority and responsibility, they may build on ideas and take initiative.  What you may see as a boring or repetitive task, they may see as an opportunity to shine.

3. Benefits For Teams

It’s not just executives and team members that benefit from delegating.  Great leaders understand team dynamics.  Delegating benefits your team as well:

  • Delegating increases efficiency.
  • Effective delegating can help balance workloads by spreading out work.  This helps make sure others have equal amounts of work.
  • It gives you an opportunity to coach, train, and mentor workers.  This provides a deeper insight into the “why” behind the “what” for team members.
  • By demonstrating that you are using team members’ respective talents and helping them grow, you are more likely to keep teams fulfilled and engaged. 

Increased Engagement Pays Dividends

Only 15% of employees globally say they are engaged at work, according to Gallup.  That’s a startling number when you think about the 85% who aren’t enthusiastic and committed to their employer’s goals.

Some employees lack that enthusiasm because they fail to see how what they do connects with the company’s overall goals or fail to understand the role they play in a company’s success.  Delegation is a good way to expand their understanding and demonstrate that their work is important and you trust them to do it well.

Good leadership fosters engagement through establishing and maintaining the right workplace culture.  Engagement is often a result of creating and engaging culture.

Delegating can also help with employee retention.  Engaged team members are less likely to leave jobs.

What If I Delegate And They Fall Short?

There’s a pretty good chance you rose to a leadership position in your organisation because you excelled at the type of tasks you need to delegate.  Not every team member will be able to match your proficiency.  This means the work will sometimes be less exceptional than what you may have done.

“One of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the shift from doing to leading.” – Harvard Business Review

Does it matter?  First, you have to ask yourself if the difference in the quality of the work between what you have done yourself and what an employee did would make a substantive difference.  Will making something a little bit better have an impact.

Secondly, it’s an opportunity to teach and mentor.  Doing it yourself and not training others to do it means you’ll have to keep doing it.  It may take more time, in the beginning, to let them take on jobs and then have to guide them, but it will free up your time in the end while building a better relationship with your team.

Start by delegating smaller tasks.  As team members demonstrate they can handle the job, increase the level of sophistication.  Think of every task you delegate as a coaching opportunity.

Delegating Does Not Mean Abdicating Responsibility

When deciding what to delegate, ask yourself if this is an essential task that only you can do.  If the answer is yes, you shouldn’t delegate it.  Any time you answer no, consider whether you can delegate.

Either way, it doesn’t mean you are abdicating the responsibility to get the project done to your satisfaction.  It’s important that you stay involved and focused on the outcome, but the degree to which you do so matters.  You don’t want to be perceived as someone that is either a micro-manager or someone uninvolved. 

Set clear goals, expectations, and deadlines.  When completed, review thoroughly and provide constructive feedback.  Remember to practice good leadership skills when assessing work:  praise publicly and criticise privately.  Look at every task as a teaching or coaching opportunity.

Leadership Training Can Help

Leadership training can provide insights and techniques that lead to efficient delegation and engagement.  Executive coaching can equip you with tools and strategies to maximise your professional effectiveness.

Those transitioning into a leadership role can benefit from leadership training by learning what it takes to be a great leader and get the most of their team.  Experienced leaders can benefit from focused training on skills to make them better leaders and delegators.   


Interested? Get in touch with one of our trainers today to see how we can help you.