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VOL. 36 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 31, 2012

Unflattering news for some bosses

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If you were walking along the street and saw $100 bill on the ground, would you pick it up or would you just walk on by and leave it there? I’m not asking this question to test your ethics. Assume it was dropped on the ground and there is no hope of finding the owner.

I’ll bet most of you would pick it up and get a little rush; a feeling that it’s your lucky day. The skill of delegation is similar to that $100 bill lying on the ground, and many of you walk right by it and leave the delegation option untouched every day.

People frequently tell me, “I know I should delegate more. I just don’t do it for some reason.” If they studied the true reasons people do not delegate, they might reconsider making such a statement.

Sometimes people don’t delegate for reasons such as the following. They don’t know how to delegate, which could be considered a form of managerial incompetence. They are control freaks and can’t let go of anything. They don’t trust others (perhaps this is because they don’t feel trustworthy). They lack humility and think they can always do things better than anyone else.

The reasons go on and on, but none are very flattering. By the way, the more socially accepted versions of these reasons aren’t worded like any of the above statements. The reasons (excuses) go something like this. I just don’t have time right now. This is very important and I want to take care of it myself. I’ve got to make sure this is done right this time. I’m not sure my staff is ready to take that on yet.

If you are reluctant to delegate think about the following:

First, recognize there are people who are better at certain things than you are – and that is perfectly OK. This is true even though you may have been around longer, may make more money, may hold a higher title, or even if you are the founder and owner of the business.

Learn to rely on people to help you. It is a sign of strength to recognize the talents of others and ask for help when it makes sense. It is a sign of weakness to refuse help when you need it.

Second, there are people at work who are not as good as you in certain areas, and you usually benefit tremendously in the long run if you teach them what you know. Unless you are absolutely the last stop on the delegation train at work, offload as much as you can to others so you can work on more important things. Think long term.

Maybe now when you say, “I know I should delegate more. I just don’t do it for some reason,” or you demonstrate that same message through your actions, you will understand that some of your coworkers – those who know the real reasons some people don’t delegate – just learned something very unflattering about you.

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.

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