How to Beat Your Fear of Delegating Work

Do You Have an Issue with Delegating Work

Well, you are not alone. Many of us are brought up with the attitude of “if you want something done, do it yourself”. It is a common issue in the workplace, especially if you are unsure of your colleague’s capabilities. It can feel risky – what if it does not get done? What if it is not quality work? Then you get stuck in an oft-repeated pattern – up half the night getting that project done yourself, overloading on Red Bull but feeling self-righteous in your perfectionism. But at what cost? How many times can you do this and not become a burn-out?

Delegating Work

What is This Really All About?

There are many factors at work here, but it all boils down to the fear of a job you have been given or want to implement being done wrong or not to deadline versus your lack of trust in those around you to do it the way you want it. It is not the sign of true leadership to fence-post everything out of worry that other people will mess it all up. A true leader will be willing to push aside this natural desire to do everything on their own. A worth manager would know that focusing on their team’s strengths and delegating tasks to others allows for better focus and a better chance of departmental or company growth. It often seems scary to delegate because it is like saying to your team “You’re as good – or maybe even better – than this than I am!”, but the risk in delegating tasks properly, to the right people, far outweighs vanity, fear and irrational thoughts about lack of confidence.

Sometimes people are afraid to delegate when they simply do not want to lose the credit for the task. They enjoy getting the credit for their work, adding to their portfolio, or getting the pat on the back they crave. But interestingly the opposite is probably true. Consider that if your team carries out your instructions perfectly and delivers the project on time and on budget. The whole team will get the credit for a job well done. And this will reflect back on you as the manager who made it happen. While you may have enjoyed doing this task and hate to lose something you like, consider that your priority should be more ‘big picture’ tasks and not smaller, enjoyable tasks that in reality just bog you down.

For many managers, there is another fear at play here. They are worried that if they delegate jobs the way they are supposed to be –that they will suddenly have nothing to do and that they will be sitting twiddling their thumbs while everyone else is industriously working. But this is nonsense, in a viable business, there is always something new on the horizon and, as a manager, it is your job to be striving to manifest the company vision in new and innovative ways. So this fear may simply be a distraction from really getting on with your prime task.

Beat your fear of delegating work

Share the Vision

This is all about preparation. If you know the project inside out and you are familiar with your team’s strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to prepare a job task delegation list that completely encompasses all risk factors. Have an initial strategy with all participants. Make sure they know the whole picture before breaking down the project into its constituent parts. Once a team feels involved, they will have a better and more engaged approach to the larger picture.

Minimise All Risk

Set up a follow-up system for each task for each person. Make a running task list or hold regular meetings to review the deliverables. Tailor your management style for each person in the chain. Some may need more supervision than others, some may have a particularly complex component to carry out so will need a more hands-on approach.

How to delegate at work


Fear of delegating work is a common problem. The reality is you, and by extension, your team are not working at their best if you are trying to do everything yourself. Your team will become demotivated, lose confidence and wonder what they are really needed for, while at the same time you will be headed for nervous exhaustion from carrying everything on your back.

Delegating is something that many business owners fear, but there are solutions such as giving up small tasks to gain confidence in both your ability to do so, and in the person being delegated to, having open communication with your team, and being clear with team members on expectations, the hierarchy, and not to blame a single individual for mistakes. In short – have trust in them and in your own abilities to manage correctly.

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