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5 Reasons Employees Can’t Delegate

October 16, 2019

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There are many personal reasons employees can’t delegate. Learning to delegate is one of the hardest tasks in the workplace.

As I was planning for my blog post “How to Create Success in Business” I realized how important it is for business owners to learn the art of delegating and pass those skills to their staff. Before they can do this, it is crucial that they first understand why employees DON’T delegate. 

I’ve compiled 5 reasons your employees can’t delegate. I hope it helps you to pinpoint their feelings and help them overcome their fears. 

1. Perfectionism

When you release a piece of work onto someone else, it is still your responsibility that it is done correctly. In many cases, especially for perfectionists, this is a huge reason employees can’t delegate. They might fear that someone else won’t be able to do the work at their level. They might feel the need to go back over the work and redo it (most of the time, unnecessarily). 

2. Fear of losing their position or value

The thought behind this myth is that if an employee gives away work or teaches someone else how to do a crucial task, they will no longer be needed. This emotion often occurs when it is unclear how an employee can advance in the company. To overcome this thought, make it clear how they can progress into leadership in the company so that they feel comfortable teaching others their tasks.

3. Worrying what others will think 

Another reason employees can’t delegate is because they are worried what others in the company might think of them. Will people think they are lazy? Maybe people will get the impression that they think they are more important than they are. The best way to overcome this issue is to make it clear that delegation is encouraged in your company. People delegate tasks so they can work on bigger, more important projects…not so they can take the afternoon off. 

4. Trust

Trust is one of the most difficult feelings to create in the workplace. There are several ways you can go about building trust in your organization, where it be reading “The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team” together or understanding Brene Brown’s Anatomy of Trust (BRAVING). Some employees will always have trouble trusting others in the workplace. This is due to personal or past circumstances. It is not your responsibility as their employer to fix this about them. They can only do that for themselves. 

5. Guilt: 

Some employees can’t delegate because they feel guilty giving boring or repetitive tasks to someone else. This is oftentimes a side effect of being a people-pleaser. It is not the responsibility of the employee to make sure that who they are delegating to finds fulfillment in a new task. It is quite typical for a new employee to take on the simpler tasks as a way of building trust in the organization. Allowing them the opportunity to succeed at this task is a foundational step in their career in the firm and will help them immensely. 

 Personal problems are not something that you can fix. The employee needs to find it in themselves or seek out the help they need. However, what you can do is create a culture within your organization that allows for this kind of exploration of these personal issues and gives them a safe space to practice. Trust doesn’t always come easy, we know this about human nature. 

If you have questions about building a trusting environment in your organization, we’d love to chat with you. Contact us for business consultation! 



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