I wanna be the one in control. So said Janet back in the 80’s (google it) and so say many of us day-to-day in our careers. We think we can do it all and so we should do it all. Isn’t that what people are expecting?

The inability to hand off work affects you AND your coworkers. When you don’t delegate, you rob your co-workers and direct reports of the opportunity to learn from you and along side you. Trying to do all the work yourself increases stress, diminishes your ability to multi-task (something 98% can’t really do in the first place), and, ultimately, can lead to burn-out.

Burn-out is no good for anybody. Who wants to burn brightly for a short time and then disappear. Not me. Not you. So stop lying to yourself, fellow control freak.

There are five lies we tell ourselves about delegating that hold us back from achieving higher performance (and career satisfaction):

  1. The Imposition – We tend to think assigning work to someone else may be an imposition – especially if it’s a co-worker or someone we know is already “busy.” If what needs to be done is something for the team, be deliberate about deciding who to hand it off to, but do hand it off. All for one and one for all.
  2. The Weakest Link – We don’t want to appear as though we are not capable of doing all the work assigned to us.. At the end of the day, management just wants the work done. Delegation is key to get a large work load done while showing your project management skills.
  3. The Confidence Conundrum – You just don’t have confidence in the people who are available to you for delegation. They might fail. They might not get it done the way you would do it. Ask yourself two things: a) How can I mitigate the risk they fail and b) What’s the worst that will happen if they do? If you’re super scared to hand it off, start building trust with a small assignment and move up from there.
  4. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – What if you miss out on the networking opportunities? What about the recognition for the work? Will delegating this work impact your end of year review? Stop it. You are kicking booty in so many other ways – focus on what is most important for YOU to do, and then allow others the chance to pick up where you left off.
  5. The Myth about the Crack – So, yeah. Something might fall through the cracks.The work that must get done will get done if it’s necessary. It ALWAYS does.

Look at those lies that we continue to tell ourselves. How are you holding yourself back by not delegating to others?


Tara Lynn is a leadership development speaker, Fascinate Certified Advisor, coach, and writer. She brings polished, insightful ideas to companies and individuals, helping them clarify their unique value and rise to higher standards of success. The practical tips and tools she shares get her clients from point A to point C while solving for the mysterious point B. 

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