Reasons why delegation is hard for some managers

by Cody Hodge

Created on: March 30, 2010   Last Updated: May 17, 2010

Why is delegation hard for some managers? Delegation, or the handing off of tasks to others, is something that a good manager needs to do in order to succeed. However, it can be hard for some managers to hand tasks off to other employees to complete. There are many good reasons why a manager might not feel comfortable delegating assignments to others, but there are many good reasons why a manager has to be able to delegate.

The first reason some managers might not like to delegate is because some might not be used to it. Maybe they have worked as an employee for their whole careers, so they don’t know anything other than doing the job themselves. From experience, I can tell you that it can be hard to pass off work to others when you first start off as a manager.

Another reason why managers don’t always like to delegate is that some managers just don’t trust the other people on the crew to do the job. Perhaps the manager feels like if they don’t do the job themselves that it won’t get done and it won’t be done right either. That can be a major issue between employees and management if they don’t ever get the chance to do their own jobs.

Managers might feel bad about delegating jobs to other employees because they feel like they should do most of the work. While a manager should be able to do whatever it takes to get the job done, it can be a hindrance if the boss decides to do the entire job themselves. The boss might think they are doing a good thing by saving others the work, but it usually doesn’t look good to the upper managers.

Sometimes managers are just loathe to show too much authority. Managers sometimes try to be the friend of the employee as opposed to the boss of the employee. They might worry that an employee might be upset that they were asked to do something, or another employee might get upset that they weren’t asked to perform that task.

It might sound fun that you can tell others to do your work for you, but it isn’t always something that people want to do. Some people actually have a problem with making others do work, or feel like they are shorting others if they are making them do work. Ultimately, the manager who can’t delegate will end up not being a manager for much longer.

My Story

I believe capable new managers or senior staffs would encounter this problem of delegating work to others especially to your juniors or subordinates. I used to encounter this as well, like what the article above mentioned:

  1. I’m not used to delegating as when i started working, i did the job all by myself
  2. I felt bad about delegating work to others as the work landed on my plate, i should be the one doing it
  3. I didn’t want to be an example of bad managers where they know nothing and when works needs to be done, they simply just assign it to someone else to work on it (how simple life would that be!)
  4. I think i can complete the work faster and there’s less chances of screwing up the work as compared to the juniors
  5. Felt that training someone takes up more time than completing the actual work by myself

What happened

Since i had people under me, i was “forced” to delegate some work to them as i myself would not want someone who comes to work, do nothing and just look at me working.

So what i started doing was:

  •  To only delegate simple, easy and fast to complete work to others, while i did those time-consuming and difficult work by myself

My superior would have thought that since there’s someone helping me, i should be given two person’s workload, and gradually, more work comes in.

Till a point where i almost could not complete them on time, while i had no other choices, but to delegate the work to others. Crossing fingers, trusting them and giving them the benefit of doubt that they would complete them on time with minimum screw ups.


It was then, i realized:

  1. I should have delegated the work earlier so they would have more time to work on *guilt*
  2. People are happier with more important tasks assigned to them which shows their capabilities
  3. I felt a sigh of relieve after delegating the work, since work is spread out to different people, i don’t need to shoulder everything by myself
  4. Surprisingly, if you think you can complete the work fast, others can complete even faster than you, you won’t know until you delegated
  5. I’m able to see a bigger and clearer picture, rather than focusing on completing the tasks
  6. Although training takes up more time, but once the person knows how to do it, they can be of so much help in the future – think ahead!

There’s so much more reasons why delegation is good and of course, you’ll need to know who is a more suitable candidate to delegate the work so the right person does the right work!

So why are you still hesitating about delegating work to others? Do it as soon as you can, you’ll never know how much it benefits you and others.

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