The Top 6 Limiting Beliefs That Sabotage Successful Delegation

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Do you struggle with knowing how to delegate?

Feeling resistant to give up control?

Worried no one else will do it like you do?

If so, I want you to know - this is 100% normal.

As humans, we struggle with asking for help. Our brains simply don’t like it. We don’t enjoy opening up and getting vulnerable with others. Sometimes we might even feel like asking for help is a sign of weakness, or will diminish our authority in the workplace.

I’ve been in this exact same spot myself. You hire people because you KNOW you need the help. But then once they’ve actually joined the team, you find you struggle with actually giving them work. You know, the work you hired them to do in the first place? 

Deep down, you know this is a waste of your time and resources. But letting go and delegating feels so hard. 

Why is this? 

Part of the reason delegating is so hard is because of the stories we tell ourselves. These sneaky limiting beliefs creep up unconsciously and impede our ability to lead. 

Keep reading to learn some of the most common limiting beliefs leaders hold around delegating, as well as strategies to keep in mind so you can STOP micromanaging and start empowering your team to succeed.

Are you holding one of these limiting beliefs around delegating?

Read these six limiting beliefs that hold leaders back from being as successful as they could be when it comes to delegating to their team. 

Belief #1 - “They can’t do it as well as me”

Reality: While no one will do it *exactly* like you, all that matters is that your team can meet the standard. 

One of the hardest things I had to learn as a leader was to step back and recognize that there are MULTIPLE ways to get the same result. If you want to grow your business or grow your department, you have to put trust in others to find THEIR way. 

Sometimes, you have to look at work your team members have done and think, “You know what? This is good enough. It might not be what I would have done, it might not be ‘perfect’, but it meets the standard and it’s good enough.”

Belief #2 - “It’s easier/faster if I just do it myself”

Reality: While this belief may be true in the beginning, it’s not a sustainable solution in the long run. As a leader, you should NOT be doing other people’s work. You should not be stuck in execution. You should be leading. 

The only way to scale as you get bigger is to start passing off tasks to others - whether they’re interns, employees, or experts/contractors outside of your company. 

Belief #3 - “My employees don’t have the same commitment to quality I do”

Reality: as a founder or CEO, it is true that you most likely have MORE vested interests in the work than your teammates. But by trusting and empowering your employees, you can build a self-motivated team that feels committed to the results. You’ll never get there, however, if you continue to micro-manage, re-do work, and shut your employees down every time they make a mistake. 

Belief #4 - “I need to be involved in everything”

Reality: You hold this belief because you have a hard time letting go of control. Sometimes this belief shows up as micromanaging, or as building processes that require you NEED to be there. Once again, building a business where all processes rely heavily on your involvement is NOT sustainable.

Belief #5 - “I enjoy the work - why should I outsource/delegate it?”

Reality: just because you ENJOY doing the work, doesn’t mean you should be doing it. You might be in a position where you should be more strategic with how you spend your time and are required to let go. This is just another way for your brain to remain feeling in control. 

Belief #6 - “I don’t want to be a burden to my team”

Reality: you’ve PAID for your team to be there, and they want to be useful! Yet you still feel bad or perhaps even guilty for giving them work. While in some instances, you COULD be overworking your team, this is usually not the case. Your team wants to help you take a load off, so make sure you let them. 

Now, if you’ve read through that list of limiting beliefs and they sound VERY familiar to you, you’re probably realizing you have a delegation problem.

Awareness is the first step to change, so pat yourself on the back. If you’re looking for some strategies to shift these patterns, so you can actually USE the help you so desperately need, keep reading.

3 reminders for successful delegation

Keep these three things in mind to become a better delegator and leader 👇🏾

(1) Give yourself permission.

As high-achieving leaders, we can often feel like our self-worth is tied up with our work. We measure success by our ability to “get things done”. Recognize that this is a pattern for you and remind yourself that you CAN work through it.

Give yourself permission to delegate without making it mean something about yourself. 

(2) Define what success looks like in the role. 

One of the most important parts of delegating is making sure that you and your team member are on the same page about what success looks like. Make your expectations clear from the get-go.

An important part of this conversation is also remembering the old-age adage “you get what you pay for”. 

For example, defining success will look far different if you’re hiring an intern with ZERO experience versus if you’re hiring an expert with a decade of experience under their belt. Make sure to adjust your expectations accordingly and review the standards with whoever you hire. 

(3) Allow yourself to step back. 

Once you’ve given yourself permission to outsource, and you’ve defined what success looks like in the role, you need to try your best to ACTUALLY step back.

Resist the urge to micro-manage and try to give them as much autonomy as possible. If there is a specific process that they are required to follow, educate them on the process. 

Remember that the entire point of hiring this person was to free up your own time so you could focus on bigger, more strategic things. If you’re constantly poking around and checking in on them, you’re not going to be getting as high of an ROI as you could be. 

While delegating takes some practice, you CAN improve on this key leadership skill. Over time, the more you trust and lean on your team, the more you’ll free up brain space to truly move and lead your company forward.

Do you need extra support with learning how to be the leader your team truly needs? Learn more about my 1-1 leadership coaching service here.


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2 comments

Theresa John

Enjoyed your leadership coaching tips, and I look forward to reading more in your podcast.  However, I would like to pose a question - Once I let go of Beliefs 1, 2, 3 and begin to delegate, how much do I compromise if the job is not satisfactory to the team quality expected by the company?

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Akua Nyame-Mensah Staff

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my content and leaving a comment!  This is a great question that would need a lot more context.  I would want to get a better understanding of what you mean by 'compromise.'  If I was to assume that you are compromising your values or your health then the first step would be to examine if that is serving you. Research shows that it would be very difficult for you to stay motivated and you run the risk of burning out if you don't feel like you have resources, support, or bandwidth to lead effectively.

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