Delegation can be tough for a lot of leaders because they often believe: “If I don’t do it myself, it won’t get done right” and this leads them to think “If something goes wrong on my watch or if someone doesn’t meet their goals in an area where I delegated responsibility it’s all my fault”. According to expert Dr. John Jantzie, these beliefs couldn’t be further from the truth. He says, “Successful leadership means taking care of the front line while still being accountable at the top level.”

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

– John C. Maxwell

So today I want to share with you two things about delegation:

  • What makes delegating hard and how to get past it
  • What it looks like when leaders do it well

What Makes Delegating Hard and How to Get Past It

Many leaders strive to achieve great things, yet they find delegating difficult because of their own beliefs around what delegation means:

  • They believe if they delegate their work their boss will think that they don’t know how to do their job, or that they’re slacking off.
  • They believe that they are the only ones who can get the job done and do it well.
  • They believe that if they give the work to someone else, they’ll just do it wrong.
  • They believe it’s critical to be aware of every minor detail, because if not then their boss or other stakeholders will think negatively of them.
  • They believe it will take longer to teach somebody else vs. just doing it themselves.

If you’re holding onto any of the above beliefs, try and replace them with beliefs that will serve you better, e.g.

  • My boss will see that I am able to leverage the team around me to effectively deliver results.
  • My team has strengths and part of being a leader is leveraging the strengths of everyone to deliver the best results possible.
  • I’ve hired and invested in the talent of my team and I trust them to get things done – and if there’s a miss, it’s nothing more than an opportunity for me to help them learn.
  • Investing time upfront in developing the talent on my team will pay dividends in the end.

Take a look inward and see what beliefs you might hold about delegation that either aren’t true that you should let go of or that should be re-evaluated.

What It Looks Like When Leaders Delegate Well

Strong delegators:

  • Spend time and think about who they should delegate to. In considering who they will delegate something to, they think about who would want to do the project/task, who might be ready to do it, who can benefit from doing it, and who would be excited to do it.
  • Are clear on what they want done, why they want it done, and what success looks like.
  • Encourage the people they delegate to, to use creativity and leave the how up to them.
  • Make sure all resources needed for their people to be successful are made available to them.
  • Exhibit good communication – they set-up checkpoints or milestones to make sure information, feedback or barriers can be shared, discussed and/or eliminated.
  • Accept employees will make mistakes and use them as opportunities for helping further develop their employees.

Bottom line … delegating is a key skill to master if you really want to deliver strong impact and results.

If you’re interested in elevating your delegation skills, email me at and we’ll get a conversation started.