When I started to think about this blog post, a very vivid image of how entrepreneurs respond to the idea of delegation came to mind.
I imagined a group of business owners watching a horror movie in a theater. The tension on the screen grows. The music takes on an ominous tone. Then, suddenly, the villain declares, "Release the Delegation Monster!" Screams fill the theater. Popcorn flies into the air. Business owners curl up under their seats with tears in their eyes.
Now, there may not be a delegation-inspired horror film coming soon to a theater near you, but for many of my clients (for-profit and nonprofit alike), getting comfortable with delegating is a scary prospect. It's so widespread that I'm doing a presentation about it later this month in Hazelwood – details to follow.
So why do so many leaders have such a hard time effectively delegating?
The short answer is fear. The longer answer? They don't necessarily fear the idea of delegating but what comes before, during, and after. It takes a lot of self-reflection and practice to have the confidence, capacity, and tolerance you need to delegate successfully. And when one of those qualities is out of balance, it can be challenging to give up control.
How do you improve your delegation skills?
First, you need to understand and believe that mistakes aren't fatal. That's a big step. For those of us who come from a background of scarcity, having the resources and personal bandwidth to come back from a mistake seems alien. However, if we cling to the idea that one misstep is fatal, we'll struggle to give someone else even the most minor task. And that can quickly lead to burnout.
Second, it's essential to understand that your sense of self-worth and validation can be deeply rooted in finishing tasks. As your business grows, your role also grows from a doer to a leader and a manager. Once you hand over assignments to employees or contractors, you may feel a sense of loss of purpose and control. So take time to reevaluate how you can find validation and bolster your feeling of self-worth.
There are many deep dives that you can do to help understand how delegation, or the fear of it, is affecting you and holding you back from success. The process is different for everyone but crucial for your business and life.
We'd love to help you explore your relationship with delegation. Let's set up a time to talk.