Many leaders struggle with delegation. We take the daily climb up a mountain of tasks. One misstep and we find ourselves swimming in an avalanche of to-do lists and forgotten email threads.
So why not don’t we ask for help? When we delegate portions of our workload, we find time to reflect on life, engage with the present, and create our vision for the future.
Here are ten excuses we make about delegation—and why we should stop making them…
1. I built this company myself. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do this.
Sure, you could probably handle setting up meetings, organizing your calendar, and reading through the 1,000s of emails in your inbox today. But is that the best use of your time?
When you spend your time on administrative tasks, are you maximizing your organization’s growth? No.
It is hard to let go and trust others to do important tasks; you care about the health of your organization and don’t want to see it suffer. However, when you spend your valuable time on menial tasks, you also compromise the growth and health of the organization.
Make an effort to find competent people who are uniquely talented. Allow them to take on the tasks you shouldn’t do. Allow yourself to focus on the things only you can do.
Why you say it: Habit of self-reliance
Why you shouldn’t: Your time is too valuable for most tasks
2. Asking for help is admitting that I can’t handle it anymore. I don’t want to look incapable. I’m competent and capable. I should be able to do it.
There are people, like a Superpowers Assistant, who are happy to come alongside you and play a part in your journey. They want to feel involved in your company’s vision. You are a player in a team. Think less about what you can and cannot do and more about what you can do collectively with your team.
Why you say it: Desire to appear competent
Why you shouldn’t: Going it alone leads to actual incompetence
3. It’s not perfect yet, and I don’t like handing off imperfect work. I want to get it done before I share it with anyone.
A blog post is not a fine bottle of wine. It doesn’t get better the longer it ages. When you horde all the responsibility of projects, things don’t get done. Be conscious of what is lingering on your to-do list. Is it something someone else can do? Delegate it today.
Why you say it: Perfectionism
Why you shouldn’t: You slow progress
4. I just need to hammer it out. It’ll take more time and effort to explain things than just to do them, and I can handle it myself.
Sure, but then what happens next time? And the time after that? Your struggle with delegation will eventually drain you. Consider recording yourself going through the process of the task, and have an assistant write out the steps. Then, pass it off.
Why you say it: Habit of self-reliance
Why you shouldn’t: Your time is limited. Eventually, you will become a limiting factor for company growth
5. People might see me as lazy if I ask someone to share my workload. I have to maintain my leadership status.
Test yourself—go through a day and keep a log of everything you do. Find how much time you are spending on projects others could do. Think about what you could do with that lost time. There are valuable opportunities that you are forfeiting because of a lack of time.
Why you say it: Fear of being perceived as lazy
Why you shouldn’t: You aren’t looking for time on the couch. There are high-value tasks you must complete.
6. Nobody else can do it. I’m the only one who can handle this task/project/assignment.
This is sometimes true. Nonetheless, there are many tasks you can do, but most of those, you shouldn’t. Time spent on delegable tasks is time taken away from the few tasks that are genuinely exclusive to you. Be selective in the fights you pick.
Why you say it: Failure to categorize high and low-value tasks
Why you shouldn’t: Your time should be dedicated exclusively to high-value tasks that are unique to you.
7. I should do it just so that I know I still can. If you don’t use it you lose it, right?
This approach is not sustainable or conducive to growth. In a team of 10, you might be able to do everything, but can you keep up when you’re leading a team of 100? Or 200? As your organization grows, a struggle with delegation is increasingly harmful. In a growing team, you bring more value by being an effective leader than by trying to prove that you can still do a task that you can pay someone else to do. Embrace being the team coach who orchestrates the bigger picture.
Why you say it: Lack of clarity on your exclusive responsibilities
Why you shouldn’t: You cannot lead well when you are preoccupied with menial tasks
8. If I don’t like doing it, nobody will. I shouldn’t ask someone else to do something I’m unwilling to do.
You have created a team around you. Share undesirable tasks rather than bear all the burden yourself. Doing it all yourself causes burnout and can hinder your vision. A task may be monotonous and unenjoyable for you, but, for someone else, it may represent a fulfilling opportunity to take on more responsibility and contribute value.
Why you say it: Concern for others, but neglect for the team dynamic
Why you shouldn’t: You will burn out. You have a team to help you.
9. Everything moves slower when I delegate things. They get stuck, I don’t know where things are at, and it just gets way too complicated.
When delegating, establish clear expectations about timelines, updates, and the desired result. Your colleagues can help relieve stress; the delegation process does not need to be daunting. As you continue delegating tasks, you will become increasingly comfortable trusting your team. Your team’s ability to handle projects efficiently will increase with each additional opportunity.
Why you say it: Desire for efficiency
Why you shouldn’t: In time, team efforts are far more efficient than solo efforts.
10. I have a hard time communicating what I want to my team. I ask for something, and it doesn’t match what my vision was.
Miscommunication is one of the primary reasons we struggle with delegation. Try developing a simple tool to communicate your vision for projects. Write out a document template that explains to your team why something matters and what the end goal looks like. Work backward from the end result, explaining the necessary steps and success criteria.
Why you say it: Difficulty communicating ideas
Why you shouldn’t: Increases in efficiency are worth the initial struggle. You can build a system to streamline communication.
“When was the last time you had thinking time?”
Our founder, Ryan Cassin, recently asked this question while discussing delegation on the “Get the Intel” podcast.
We stunt our growth when we fail to find time to reflect on our trajectory. End your struggle with delegation. Allow yourself the space to step back and take thoughtful control of your business and life. Find competent people you can trust and who understand your vision. And cultivate a culture of delegation based on clear communication.
Is it time to strengthen or begin your delegation journey? We might have something helpful for you! At Superpowers, we want to connect you with an Executive Assistant who is a custom-tailored fit for you—your number one delegate. Book a Discovery Call today to learn more about your Superpowers assistant.