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What is your biggest obstacle to delegating more of what you do?

What is your biggest obstacle to delegating more of what you do?
(Image credit: SmartBrief)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What is your biggest obstacle to delegating more of what you do?

  • No issues — I’m great at delegating: 21.98%
  • I’m afraid they won’t do the task correctly: 15.48%
  • I don’t have the resources to delegate to: 34.52%
  • I don’t have time to teach them the task. It’s faster if I do it: 19.28%
  • I enjoy my work and don’t want others to take it from me: 4.48%
  • Something else prevents me from delegating: 4.26%

Delegation challenges. While you may not have direct resources to delegate to, think creatively. Are there other teams that are better “natural owners” for some of the work you can delegate? Are there people in other parts of the organization looking for developmental special project opportunities? People don’t have to be in your direct line of responsibility for you to delegate to them.

As far as your bigger challenges — fear of delegating and time to train people — those are issues you can overcome. Find the time. Do you have time to continue doing the work? It adds up over time and far outstrips the amount of time you’ll spend training someone on the skill. As far as overcoming fear, consider delegating small tasks first to build confidence and trust. For bigger tasks, delegate them in pieces and schedule regular progress checks.

You’ll be surprised at how confident you’ll become in people once you get past the made up fears in your mind that are preventing you from delegating in the first place.


Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN — the firm’s e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West oint graduate and author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”