Recently, I shared five things entrepreneurs must understand about delegation to be successful, but even after you’ve accepted how important delegation to your employees and delegation through outsourcing are to build your career or your business, you might not be able to do it.
Delegating is hard for many people, but if you don’t delegate, you’ll suffer from too much stress, your company (or career) will suffer from missed opportunities, and everyone around you will suffer from your anxiety and unhappiness.
For many of us, the problem isn’t that we don’t understand the importance of delegation. Instead, we can’t get around the psychological barriers that keep us from delegating.
Take a look at five of the most common psychological barriers to delegation and see if any of them apply to you. Be honest! Once you can identify the barriers that are stopping you, you can start working through them to improve.
1. You’re a Perfectionist with a Type A Personality
If you think you can do tasks better than anyone else, then you’re going to have to do everything. For perfectionists with Type A personalities, giving up control is incredibly difficult.
However, you have to train your employees and learn to trust them. If you don’t, your business’ growth will be extremely limited.
There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything yourself and continue to grow.
2. It Takes Too Long to Explain How to Do a Task to Another Person
Some of us are not good teachers. That’s nothing to be ashamed about. We all learn in different ways, and if the way you learn doesn’t match with the way your employees learn, it’s going to be difficult for you to train them.
Unfortunately, not training your employees starts a vicious cycle where nothing ever gets off your plate, and your employees get used to doing less and less.
If this sounds like you, then consider hiring a human resources and training manager or consultant to help you train your employees if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.
3. You Don’t Want to Bother Anyone Else
You’re trying to build a business. You can’t worry about bothering anyone else when things have to get done. Everyone has a role to play, and they should be expected to do it.
Make sure all team members’ job descriptions are very detailed. Clearly identify the responsibilities and tasks each employee will be expected to perform so there is no question about whether you should ask someone to take on a task or not. It’s in their job description, not yours!
4. You’re Afraid It Won’t Be Done Correctly (or on Time) if You Don’t Do It
This goes back to #1 above. If you have a Type A personality, giving up control will be very difficult. Of course, with the right people and proper training, you can confidently rely on other team members to complete tasks for you.
However, if you can’t give up control, everything from hiring to training becomes an obstacle. Delegating is just one more obstacle that gets added to the pile.
Yes, as the business owner, you need to maintain control, but you also need to understand that a one-woman business can only grow so much. Trying to retain 100% control over everything is a recipe for stagnant growth – or worse, disaster.
5. You Like Doing Tasks that You Should Be Delegating
There are some tasks that you might enjoy doing but shouldn’t spend your time doing them.
For example, perhaps you own an advertising agency and love graphic design. You find yourself doing all of the design work, but is that really the best use of your time as the business owner? Probably not.
Instead, these are tasks you should delegate to another employer, so you can spend your time working on growing the business.
Key Takeaways about Delegation and Entrepreneurial Success
Only you can decide if you truly want to grow your business as the leader or if you want to stay in the role of a do-er.
If you want to grow, then you need to delegate, which may require investing time and effort into overcoming the psychological barrier that are keeping you from delegating consistently and effectively. Now is the time to get started.
What are your delegation tips? Share them in the comments below.
Originally published 8/30/16. Updated 4/22/23.