Overcoming delegation hesitation – Part 2


Last week’s post looked at the first 2 elements for overcoming delegation hesitation – MINDSET and MATCH. This week we look at the next piece to address.

Once you’ve matched (MATCH) the task with the person, you then have to sell it. Especially if it is not something they are interested in! You need to explain it and then monitor it – to varying degrees, depending on the person and the task. These steps aren’t actually that hard in themselves.

So why, even if we have recognised that it’s not about us, then know who is a good fit, do we still have delegation hesitation?

This brings us to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

After mindset, our barriers to delegation relate to our own resources and skills.

I see this as coming from 3 main areas:

  • Time (“I don’t have time to do this!”)
  • Communication (“I don’t how to communicate so that it’s clear and people act.”)
  • Confidence (“I’m not sure myself on the best way to approach the task…”)

Not all of these will necessarily apply. Yet they are all valid barriers we still need to overcome to delegate effectively.

No more hesitation. You CAN make it happen!

To take action, we need to:

  • Make time
  • Make it motivational
  • Make it clear
  • Make it theirs

Make time.

Once we become good at delegating well, it will take us less time to do so, it will become routine. In fact it will become less about “Delegation” and will be more about “Team Performance “– i.e. right person, right job, together successful.

And over time, you will gain time because you will have a team who are motivated and skilled, and able to take initiative and solve problems. Your team will keep you in the loop, yet almost need you less.

A leader’s role, after all, is actually to create more leaders!

Therefore, rather than concentrating on how much time it will take to delegate, remember it’s not about you and in the end it will save you time. Don’t use time as an excuse!


Make it motivational.

Making it motivational is about how you sell the task to your team member. They need to understand why you chose them, what they bring to the role and what they will get out of it.

Help them see this as an opportunity rather than you handing over your to do list! An opportunity rather than just a task.

Sell, don’t oversell – be genuine. You don’t need to necessarily have them jumping for joy, yet at least aim for it sounding like a positive thing to be involved in. Part of your ability to do this this will come from the MATCH you have made between the task and the person.


Make it clear.

And we need to make it clear. Our communication must be spot on here. People need to know the purpose, what’s expected, and what the timeframes are. Depending on tasks you’ll be covering resources required, others to involve, risks to manage, and so on. With these elements, a coaching approach will help – to involve them where you can in exploring options and making decisions.

How you handle the communication will depend also on the mix of motivation and skill that you are dealing with. Low motivation and high skill means more emphasis on the reasons you chose them. Low skills and high motivation means discussing their limitations and ways to address this. High in both means more about any boundaries they might be unaware of. And low in both means that possibly we should not be delegating this task to this person!


Make it theirs.

Finally, we need to make it theirs. Humans like to feel they have choice. No matter their skill for the task, we will be more effective if we involve them. This helps them understand that they have choice. Getting their input involves them reflecting on how to approach a task and answering questions. It links back to coaching. Depending on the person and the task, here are a few examples of questions to provide choice and involvement  – “How would you like to approach this?” or “What is the first step you will take?” or “What support will you need from me?”

As soon as they answer the questions, they start to own it. This is so important as your team will do a much better job if they feel they own a task; they will likely take more pride because they feel responsible.


Over these 2 posts, we’ve spoken about delegating effectively coming down to the 3Ms:

  • Mindset
  • Match
  • Make it happen

If this has sparked your interest and you’d like more information on what each element involves, sign up for our free resource below and keep an eye out for more help on its way to your inbox!

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