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Leader’s Must Delegate – Why is it so Hard? 3 Easy Practical Tips

Delegation is Critical to Successful Leadership

If Leaders want to be highly successful, they have to delegate. Their leadership and teams depend on it.


I get it, you really are the only one that can do it the way you want it done – why delegate to someone else?

Boy did I struggle with that very same thing until one day a good boss of mine told me otherwise.

Fresh out of graduate school I considered myself the best at doing what I was trained at doing, I was an Instructional Technologist – and I was dang good at it! With my first job I had the opportunity to prove how good I was, and the numerous kudos and recognition I received only validated it.

However, I was soon promoted into a supervisor role and couldn’t do everything I had done before. I had to let go of some things. That was tough, and I didn’t want to. Instead I worked hours and hours doing my day to day stuff as a supervisor and pounding out design development way past office hours.

I went to my boss with the problem; I couldn’t keep up the pace anymore. He asked me a number of questions around what my day looked like and then said this, “Mike, your problem is that you think you are the only one who can do what you do.” I looked a little puzzled. He said, “if you are going to be a leader, you better learn how to let go and give others a chance to prove their worth. There are others that can do what you do, you just need to help them get there.”

Wow! That was a light bulb moment and rescued me from the piles of stress I had heaped upon myself due to my ignorance as a new leader. I eventually realized that by properly delegating I would have more time, less stress and greater retention rates. My team would be better balanced,  feel more valued, and have more development opportunities. It was a win win!

Proper delegation (and I highlight the word “proper”) is critical to a leader’s success. Here are three things all leaders must do in order to properly delegate. Could you write down what your job is

1. Provide proper training. This is probably one of the main reasons leaders don’t delegate; they don’t want to take the time to train. But in the long run it will save you more time by investing upfront and taking the time to train.

It is important that those you are delegating to have the proper instructions, tools and contacts to do the delegated task(s) correctly. To throw the employee, for example, out of the nest and asking them to fly is setting them up for failure in a big way.

2. Be clear on tasks and expectations. Those you are delegating to need to clearly understand what the end state looks like.

How will they know they are successful? What type of quality of work are you looking for? If they run into obstacles, where do they go?

Lack of communication is often cited as one of the main reasons leaders fail; clear communication as it pertains to delegation is critical.

In addition to being clear with those you delegate to, it is just as important to be clear with those on the team or in the organization who will be touched in someway by the delegated task(s) so you can eliminate confusion and generate support.

3. Support, encourage and praise. Meet regularly with those you delegate with. Ask them to return and report on how they are doing. Provide continual positive support. Encourage and praise them for the successes and provide constructive feedback and coaching where help is needed.

So, what do you think? How are you doing with delegation? Do you have any additional advice or tips on delegating properly? I would love to hear your thoughts. You can comment on the phone

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