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Why Delegating is So Darn Hard… and How to Fix It

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by Tom Borg

Arnie is a good manager. He treats his employees well. He communicates clearly to them and is always willing to listen when they come to him with a problem. He encourages them to take training and self-development classes and grow their skill sets. He discourages them from working more than eight hours and encourages them to get home to their families after a hard day’s work.

However, one area where Arnie fails miserably is in his ability to delegate. For some reason or another, he just doesn’t do it. He has tried once or twice, but has not succeeded. He is not alone. For many presidents, CEOs and managers, “delegate” is a dirty eight letter word.

I see this predicament time and time again with the clients I work with. What makes it so hard for these people to delegate? What causes them to fumble, stumble and fall in this critical management area?

In my 25 plus years of coaching, mentoring and training, I have discovered a few reasons why this quandary continues to persist in the cannabis industry.

If you are a leader that has trouble with the art and necessity of delegating, and you truly want to learn how to eliminate it, I congratulate you. Let’s take a closer look at how you can fix this problem forever! As strategic coach, Dan Sullivan says, “it’s not the problem that is the problem – it is how you think about the problem that is the problem.” So, with that idea in mind, let me ask you a question. How do you feel about delegating some of your responsibilities and projects to a few of your team members?

I am not asking a logical question; I am asking an emotional question. You must get out of your head and in touch with your heart. Let me ask that question again. How do you feel about delegating some of your responsibilities and projects to a few of your team members?

What type of feeling comes over you when I ask that question? Is it a feeling of fear that the person you delegate to will perform the job ineptly, and cost the company additional time and money? Maybe you fear embarrassment for being stupid enough to delegate such an important task to this individual?

Or maybe, you might feel that you just don’t have enough time to be bothered with explaining how to do a job. In a fraction of the time it takes to teach another person how to do an assignment, you could quickly and easily complete it yourself.

You may think by taking the time to delegate this project, you would be putting yourself behind the eight ball. You already have enough on your list of things to do and are frantically trying to get them done. By taking the time to delegate this job, you will set yourself up for having even less time to do what is urgent. You don’t want to feel that kind of pressure. It makes you feel stressed just thinking about it.

Finally, you might be thinking, “Hey, if I delegate this job to Jerry, he just might do it better than I could. That’s all I need is another millennial showing me up”.

If you have been guilty of having any of the above thoughts or feelings, I want to encourage you to stop. Stop the mind chatter. Let’s think about this challenge from a different perspective.

As it has often been said, “You can’t get promoted if you can’t be replaced.” In other words, if you don’t have someone able enough to take over your responsibilities, how will you ever be able to go to the next level of your career?

How do you feel about staying in this position, when in your heart, you want to advance within your organization?

Alright, so maybe you are in a position where there is not much room for advancement. Let me ask you this question. Are you in a position where you are putting in far more hours a day than you are getting paid for? Wouldn’t it make sense to have someone else who is being paid a lesser salary or wage, to take some of that work off your list? This way you could invest your time in getting more important projects done? You could focus on projects that would have a higher return on investment of time and energy. How do you feel about getting those kinds of results?

Let’s look at the other side of the coin. What might be some benefits for your employees if you were to start delegating to them on a regular basis?

Research has shown that when employees are delegated additional job responsibilities, it keeps them on a growth curve. One of the main reasons a person will leave a company is because he or she feels (there is that word again) they are not growing. They begin to feel they have outgrown their job.

While most employees will eventually move up or move on from a company, what allows them to be most fulfilled in the time they spend at your organization is when they are on a learning curve. It is rewarding to learn skills they did not possess when they started, and to be challenged and made to develop skill sets that make them glad they worked there.

A second reason to delegate to your team members is that it allows them to feel in on things. It allows them to feel like they are an important part of your team.

According to Wikipedia, “Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.”

Maslow shared with us that one of the basic needs of human beings is to have a sense of belonging. Your employees will gain that sense of belonging when they are allowed to successfully contribute to your company. This happens when they are delegated additional responsibility.

Finally, a third reason to delegate additional job responsibility to your employees is to let them earn a sense of pride. That is, being able to bask in the glow of compliments and appreciation from their peers for a job well done. Makes sense doesn’t it?

So, start thinking about the issue of delegating in a different way than you have before. Acquire a new understanding of the value it can create for you, your employees and your company. When you do this, you will continually walk down your own road of self-actualization.

Tom Borg is a team performance and customer experience expert who works with business owners who want their leadership teams to connect, communicate, and work together better without all the drama. Tom does this through his consulting, behavioral and driving forces assessments, training and speaking. To ask him a question please call (734) 404-5909 or email him at: [email protected] or visit his website at: www.tomborgconsulting.com.

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