October 30th, 2023

As a business coach for more than two decades, I have taught thousands of business owners how to streamline their delegation processes and procedures in order to get more done without working 80-plus hours a week. And, for many, the actual delegating isn’t the most challenging part of the process. For most, it’s the emotional components that come along with the tasks. So today I want to go over some of the biggest emotional elements that go into delegation, and share tips on how you can delegate while keeping good relationships with your team members and outside vendors.

Your Emotions

The first and perhaps the most damaging of all the emotional land mines, without question, is the inability of the leader or manager to let go. Control-itis is a huge problem in a lot of small businesses. The key to overcoming it is to understand the root emotions causing this behavior. And your inability to let go is almost always caused by anxiety. You feel discomfort with letting go, and you may have experienced a letdown in the past that helped solidify your feelings about delegation. Once you acknowledge why you feel this way, you can take steps to push through that discomfort and start delegating small tasks to those who are able to do a good job. Then, as your confidence grows, so should the tasks that you delegate.

The second roadblock to effective delegation is actually the desire to feel important. If we hold onto tasks or projects, it makes us feel significant. It makes us feel important. But there’s a real price that we pay to these feelings, and the price is your sanity. There’s also a price to your team and the growth of your business.

The Damage

Now that you understand the emotional issues surrounding delegation, it’s important to understand the cost of continuing the status quo. If you didn’t make any changes today, would you experience any of these negative side effects?

  • Does it cause you to work longer hours or force you to bring work home on the weekend because there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done?
  • When you take a vacation, do you actually let go, or do you work on your vacation?  What about the pressure you feel?
  • And what about your team? Does it hurt their motivation?
  • Does it make them feel less valued and less important?
  • Does it hamper and diminish their growth professionally? Does it help them or hurt them?
  • Does it make them feel disengaged?
  • Does it make them feel untrusted?
  • Does it make them feel less capable than they actually are?
  • Does that controlling behavior cause extra turnover for your company?
  • Have you lost opportunities because you didn’t have the capacity to take on more work?

All of these consequences have a very real emotional and financial impact on your business and your bottom line. Which is why ignoring or putting off delegating tasks can be one of the most destructive behaviors you can have as a leader. So, acknowledging the behaviors and working toward overcoming them should be on your to-do list as a leader.