Why Don’t We Delegate?

So, how did delegating the task go this week? Did you do it?

Or – did you think about delegating and then for some reason decide not to?

We all know we could delegate better, but many times we don’t know why we are not.

We asked four expert Coaches from Singapore, Canada, and the United States to summarize in one sentence why we don’t delegate.

Before we hear their responses- let’s meet each Coach!

Comparison Coach Bios

So, y’all… Why don’t we delegate?

Jennifer JonesJennifer:  If I delegate my duties to my team, what will I do; how will I add value and contribute?




Trish BrooksTrish:  Often people don’t delegate because they are afraid of the risk of the outcome if the employee doesn’t meet their (sometimes perfectionist) standards.



Lisa:Lisa Harper They feel they don’t have time to explain the project or task and they think it’s easier to just do it themselves, not thinking about the long term impact this can have.



Tze Meng ChinTze Meng: It is challenging to answer this question in ONE sentence. To generalize, perhaps its unwillingness or lack of know-how. The former is more challenging.




Does one of the above reasons strike a chord with you? Or maybe it sparks another thought on why you are not delegating as often as you can be.

Knowing reasons why we don’t do something is a great starting point.

In the coming weeks, we will be going a more in depth about what we can do to combat the reasons above.

Until then, try the exercise we did! Write down one reason that may be holding you back in delegating.


It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3…

You can’t get everything done that you need to and you have a team for a reason- so, you delegate.

We’ve all heard the word…we all know what it means.

So, how do you do it? It’s easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1. Decide what you will delegate.

Look at all the work you have and separate out the tasks that only you can do with the tasks that others can do as well.

Step 2. Determine clear expectations and tangible results.

Sit down with your direct report and explain what they will be doing and your expectations for how the task gets done and when it is to be competed by.

Step 3. Monitor results.

Schedule a follow-up meeting to ensure the task has been completed, review how completing the task went, and answer any questions.

It’s that easy, right? … YEAH, RIGHT!!

If delegation really was as easy as A, B, C – we would all be doing it flawlessly. And, there would be no reason for hundreds of books, articles, and trainings on the art of delegation.

Over the next weeks we will be digging through what holds us back from delegating and what we can do to overcome those things.

Between now and then- think about one task you can delegate. And, try it!

Reason, Emotion, and You

You live for spreadsheets… order… logic. You have just finished your list of things to accomplish today (and the amount of time you can spend on each task)… It’s one of those full days. And then, your direct report comes into your office crying and needing to talk.

Or, you are driven by emotion and sometimes that drives how you make decisions. You have set up a meeting to talk to your direct report about their career goals – you’re looking forward to brainstorming and working together to really hash out a plan of attack. They come in with a list of two things they want to see changed in the team and three things they would like to accomplish. It feels like there is no conversation to be had.

How do you talk?

Understanding the psychology of how you and your direct reports think can bring insight both in how to talk with each other and how to ask questions to engage with different parts of the brain.

People who predominately use the left side of the brain usually solve problems logically and sequentially- looking at all the parts of something individually. People who to use the right side of the brain more often, solve problems with hunches- seeking out patterns and looking at the whole.

There are different ways you can word questions to engage different parts of the brain – asking why a presentation went the way that it did will typically create a sequential response vs. asking how can you change the presentation next time will typically cause someone to think about creative and new ideas.

Here is a 30 second brain test that can be used as a base line of which side of your brain you tend to use more (maybe see if your direct report can take it too!). This can give you a starting point in understanding how you and your direct reports will more naturally respond to a situation.

Understanding more of how people think (and the psychology behind it) can help to bring clarity on why people say or do the things they do.

If you are interested in learning more about right and left brained thinking, Dr. John Robert Dew from the University of Alabama wrote this fascinating academic article.

Looking Back and Celebrating

It’s easy to look at the 4th of July, as a much needed day off.

We all live busy lives. In the middle of summer- with nice weather, kids out of school (yes, that’s why there are so many teenagers everywhere), and the anticipation of a vacation – we long for that extra day off.

This Independence Day, take a few moments to think back on where the United States has come from. It is amazing! If you need a place to start, here are 10 interesting facts about the 4th of July.

And, come Monday, think back about where you’ve come from in your career.

Don’t forget to celebrate your career trek too! We all have milestones that are worth a parade, 13 cannon salute, or fireworks (just like the first 4th celebration in Philadelphia had). Those accomplishments make you who you are today.