Let's be honest. Delegating is hard. Why have someone else do the work, when you know you can execute it - just how YOU want it, with no errors, no mistakes, and in your own perfect way. So why delegate ever? Why let go of all your responsibilities?Because we know better! Our own experience and all the studies and research out there tell us if we hold onto to it all for too long, we will suffer and so will our team. As I work with teams and leaders, I often hear them say, it’s not that they don’t know what tasks need to be released - that’s the easy part. The hard part is letting go, releasing control, and working through the fear and anxiety of what will happen when it’s not in their hands. So, if we know fear, anxiety, and the scary unknown needs to be addressed, I will then ask clients to imagine their worst fear. You let go and then what…and I hear answers like:
- The client will be upset and not get what they need.
- My boss will be mad at me and begin to think bad of me.
- I’ll have to correct my team and have a hard conversation.
- We might make a bad impression and not get new business.
I am sure you could write your own worst fear imagined and the painful reality is your fear might come true. The client might be upset, your boss might get mad, and you might need to have that hard conversation. That is another kind of pain and discomfort you may have to deal with.So, while it’s important that you confront your fears and anxieties, I also find it’s equally important to be cognizant of what it costs leaders when they do NOT delegate. Here’s a few examples that often come up.
What It Personally Costs You When You Do NOT Delegate:
- You feel burnt out from being pulled in too many directions.
- Your mental health struggles as you find it hard to be fully present.
- Your physical health declines, especially disturbing your sleep patterns.
- Your relationships are full of tension because you can’t meet everyone’s needs.
- You’re often in a state of anger, tension, or stress as you feel the weight of it all.
What It Costs Your Team When You Do NOT Delegate:
- They begin to feel bored and unmotivated with less work.
- They question their ability and if you trust they can do the work.
- They don’t experience any empowerment and movement towards growth.
- Their normal work tasks start to falter because they lose a sense of overall purpose.
- Their overall team morale declines because they don’t feel a part of the wider vision.
Listing out the costs might not automatically dissolve all your fears and anxieties, but I encourage you to make your own list of what NOT delegating is costing you, both personally and for your team. Sometimes just seeing the effects on paper helps address those underlying fears. You can do this! One task at a time!Let delegation work FOR you, not against you! Your team and your sanity will thank you.