3 Obstacles to Delegation: Do What You Can Do, Delegate the Rest

My parents really thought I was going to have major problems in life. I guess that's what I get for sending my friends into the kitchen to get "us" snacks. I'm sure it's hard to make sense of a 7-year-old who knows how to assign each of his friends a job to ensure their movie night goes flawlessly. I would invite friends over the house with some sort of plan; movie nights, video games, etc. I'd then give them each jobs! One would have to get the snacks, the other would have to set up the GameCube, and I'd.. well I don't know. I don't remember what I would do as my friends ran around my house working.

The sad thing is I remember doing this! I remember specifically telling my friend to go get sunkist and goldfish, the other to move the GameCube to the big TV, and I was going to go put my pjs on. I guess I was born knowing how to delegate!

My parents thought this was an issue, and it definitely was when my age was considered. But when I was put into a leadership position, this natural ability to delegate was viewed as a strength!

Except that it wasn't a natural ability. Delegating isn't that easy. I found that I wasn't delegating as a kid, I was bossing my friends around. I should probably take this moment to apologize to my childhood friends for making them work!

But delegation is the only way leaders survive. If you think about it, any leadership role relies on being able to find people who can do your job for you for less or no pay. If you're a coach, a pastor, a manager, or a CEO, we all are trying to find people to take some of the weight of the job off of our shoulders! CEOs are relying on their ability to find and train people to carry the load of their organization for less pay. Managers are needing to find people to run the cashier spot for a few bucks an hour. If not, they'll be behind the cashier. Pastors are looking to find people to greet guests at the door, make coffee, and clean the building so people can stay long enough to hear the sermon!

A leader's job is fully dependent on delegation.

But while being vital to any leader's life, delegation is increasingly difficult as time goes on. Why? Lets's look at the 3 obstacles to delegation that I've found in my life:

1) I don't know WHAT to delegate!

It's hard to know exactly what you should delegate. Should you delegate everything you're not good at? Or everything you don't enjoy. The answer to both questions is no. There are really only two categories in any job that matter: things ONLY you can do, and things anyone can do. Your job is to discover what only you can do and then delegate the rest. Find the first, delegate the rest.

If you're a leader, then you're responsible for the culture. Only you can decide who your organization/ team is, what they are, and why they are. You can't hire someone to create a vision for you, to preach that vision, and to hold people accountable to that vision. Even if you aren't naturally good at all that, only YOU can do it. Find the first, delegate the rest.

If you're wanting to dive deeper into what ONLY you can do, I'd encourage you to check out Craig Groeshcel's podcast on the Four Tiers of Efficiency linked at the bottom of this blog!

2) I don't know WHO to delegate to!

Once you've found what you should delegate, then you have to know who you should delegate to. The answer is quite simple actually: Whoever can do it with at least 70% of the effectiveness as you. That may seem weird, as you're losing 30% efficiency immediately. But what you lose in initial efficiency, you gain back in time and energy to focus on what only YOU can do. As you do your job better, you create avenues for everyone on the team to do theirs better. John Maxwell talks about our leadership lids, and how no one can ever outgrow their leader. If your lid is a 5 out of ten, then your team won't be able to grow past a 5. So as you devote more time to growing your lid, you give them more space to grow theirs!

Another big part of WHO you should delegate though does rely on gifting and personality. Our team has used the Enneagram in this process, which has been extremely helpful. But we've found the 6 Working Genius' from Patrick Lencioni to be even more beneficial. I've provided the link to this material below!

3) I don't want them to dislike me..

Even if you were to draw up the perfect delegation plan, your heart will still get in the way. Asking people to do things for you for less or no pay is not easy. I found myself being afraid to delegate because I didn't want the member of our team to dislike me, or even hate me, for asking them to do part of my job. They are busy! They have lives. They have their own dreams and ambitions!

But what I've found is this; Involvement increases Commitment. The more you involve people, the more committed they become. No one likes working in a place that they aren't really committed to, or a place they feel isn't committed to them! As you involve them in the overall process, they grow in their commitment. They enjoy their jobs/roles more because they are involved in it! As you involve them, they feel like you are more committed to them too!

I've written an entire chapter on how Involvement Increases Commitment in my book, Up Next. If you'd like to get your hands on it, I've provided the link at the bottom of this blog!

Delegation is key to any leader, and we have to push past these obstacles if we're ever going to have long-term success! You can delegate! You have people around you just waiting for you to ask for their help. They are smart, gifted, and talented, and care enough to have stuck around this long. Now, involve them!

(Also, I've attached a $5 off for those that use the code DELEGATE at checkout! It's just a simple "thank you" for reading this blog!)


Craig Groeschel's Four Tiers of Efficiency:


Patrick Lencioni's 6 working genius's:


Up Next:


$5 off with the code "Delegate" at checkout!

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