28 October 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 9

10-28-14 LII Blog

Why don’t leaders delegate and what are the consequences?

Failure to Delegate

Leaders who fail to delegate usually do so for one of the following reasons:

  1. They are afraid that if they don’t do it themselves, it won’t be done right.
  2. They are afraid of being shown up.
  3. The people to whom they can delegate are truly incapable, incompetent or unqualified.

If you want to be a leader and have difficulty delegating, it’s time for some self evaluation.  Which of these rationales are you using?  It could be a combination of these factors.  Let’s take a look at each of these points:

I’m the only one who can do it.

It may be possible that you are the absolute best at performing a specific task.  If this is the case you must decide whether or not you can continue to perform this task by yourself and still be able to accomplish the goals and lifestyle that you desire.  If this is possible, then don’t delegate.  Do it yourself.

But, you also must determine if you are being honest with yourself.  Are you possibly afraid that someone else may show you up?  If you want to move to another plateau in your life this is a risk that you may need to take.  The special talent you enjoy may also be one that will wane with time, but if you have delegated and taught your followers, perhaps you will move to a position of leadership within your profession as a teacher, administrator or mentor.

I may look bad.

This is looking at the glass half empty.  What’s wrong with an “I may look good” mentality for having mentored another leader?  What’s wrong with the recognition you will receive when the efforts of your team led by you deliver performance that excels?

Strong leaders surround themselves with strong people and then provide them with every opportunity to achieve.  Strong leaders know that goals will best be accomplished by a team effort.  Strong leaders never worry that subordinates will outshine them.  They revel in that possibility.  Strong leaders are the first to recognize greatness.

Besides, if subordinates are truly that strong, they will not allow themselves to be held back by an insecure leader.  They will leave, rising to the top elsewhere.  When they have accomplished their goals wouldn’t you rather be recognized as the one who gave them an opportunity rather than the one who tried to hold them back?  Greatness will surface.  When it does, be a part of it!

How can I delegate to morons?

If this is really true—if you only have dim bulbs in your tree—you have only three choices: train them, replace them, or do it yourself.  Before you start replacing, make sure that the dimness is not due to a faulty generator (that’s you!).  Have you provided subordinates with the training, instructions and understanding that they need in order to shine brighter?

No generator can get a 100 watt glow from a 15 watt bulb—at least not without quickly blowing a filament.  If that’s the case, replacement is probably called for, so do it!  And remember that 15 watt bulbs will work well as refrigerator lights for years.  Does your organization have a need for refrigerator bulbs?

Lastly, there are times when the only way to get something done is to do it yourself.  Not every task under every circumstance can, or should, be delegated.

Leaders must be the driving force.  Leaders who contribute nothing will be found out sooner or later.  There are also times when leaders should forget their importance, roll up their sleeves and get down in the dirt.  Leaders do not demean themselves by occasionally performing the simplest of tasks.  It can have a rallying effect.

When the heat of the moment requires that you “do it yourself” let it be a teaching moment for a helper.  Next time that helper will be prepared to fulfill the task.

Coming up…personal involvement of the leader.

Leave a Reply