The Challenge of Letting Go
“I know how I want things done and I do not always trust others to do the job as well as I can.”
“It takes more time to tell someone else how to do it than to do it myself.”
“If someone else does the work, I may have to redo it to my specifications. It is not efficient.”
There are many reasons to keep work on your desk that could go to others. But as you grow as a leader and take on increasing responsibility, delegation becomes vital to your success, the success of your team, and the success of your organization. If there are so many good outcomes to delegating, why is it so difficult?
Take a moment to think about what is really holding you back. What hidden beliefs underlie your reticence to delegate?
Hesitance to trust other people? If so, why? In what situations do you trust people, if any? What’s different about this one?
Unwillingness to relinquish control? What does being in control mean to you? How does being in control serve you? In what ways does it limit you?
Worry others might do the work better than you? Or that you will not be seen as the best person to do the work? What might the upside of this be?
Concern about relinquishing work you’re good at and known for, of losing your identity in the organization? What new identity might delegating work to others allow you to grow into? What would delegating give you time to learn?
Discomfort about doing the work that a higher role requires? When have you been on a steep learning curve before? What outcome did you get when you overcame it?
Delegating takes courage. It requires trusting other people, not only to get the work done, but to do it well. And on a deeper level, it may require letting go of fears that you may not have been aware of.
Being completely honest with yourself about what causes this hesitation takes courage. Even more so to let go of whatever belief holds you back. This process of self-reflection is worth the effort though, as it is key to growing as a leader and to developing others.
Once you’ve identified your internal roadblocks to letting go, ask yourself: “What is the work on my desk that only I can do?” The rest is ripe for delegating.
Then these might sound familiar:
“When I delegate, I have more time for strategic thinking.”
“I’ve noticed my direct reports are really stepping up to the plate.”
“I realized that I enjoy coaching my team in their development.”