If you feel like you are drowning in work these days, join the club. A too-large workload is the No. 1 source of stress for most people — and it only gets worse the more responsibilities you have.
Time-strapped business professionals are pulling longer hours — roughly 58 per week — to cover their to-dos. Their small business counterparts aren’t far behind either, with a full 62 percent saying they work a minimum of 50 hours per week to keep the business running. If you’re trying to do more with less and faster, you’re feeling the burn, too.
That said, I’d wager a bet that most of those overworked leaders and business owners — you included — are at least partially to blame for the burgeoning workloads and mounting stress.
How’s that? Because too many leaders refuse to do the one thing that could help: They refuse to delegate, citing a number of reasons why they shouldn’t. Perhaps you’ve use one of these top excuses for not delegating:
1. You don’t have time to train other people
The “I can just do it faster” excuse is one of the biggest productivity killers out there. It’s also total nonsense. Of course, it will take a bit of time upfront to train someone to take over a task, but then it’s done, done, done. Every time that now-capable person completes the task, you gain back minutes or hours to focus on big-picture, important issues like growing your business.
2. You do it better than anyone else
That’s definitely an egotistical way of thinking, but we’ll give it to you. It just might be true that no one on your staff can complete the task as well as you can — right now. However, when you train others to do those tasks, you free your own time, and you develop the skills and knowledge of the people on your team.
Besides, according to Mercer just half of leaders and managers feel they have enough time to do a quality job. It’s highly likely some things are slipping through the cracks as you struggle to complete everything. You need to let go of some tasks to ensure you’re doing your best on your top priorities.
3. You don’t trust anyone to take over
This one is worrisome if it’s true. It means you’ve built a team of incompetent, unreliable people who are incapable of supporting you and the business. You’ll need to clean house and start over. That is rarely the case, however, and you need to just change your perception of the people on your team. Most are capable; they’re just waiting on you to put your trust in them.
It’s also possible that your business has grown, and you haven’t been able to staff it to meet that growth. The only way forward is to hire people you can rely on so you can continue to grow and scale your business.
While those excuses are most often used by leaders who won’t delegate, we’re going to get super real with you. It’s our belief that your fears are holding you back more than anything. In fact, if you were honest with yourself, you’d probably admit that:
4. You don’t want to lose control
When you delegate tasks, you basically are letting go of the wheel, and that can feel scary. After all, you’ve devoted time and energy into the business, and you don’t want to see anything go wrong.
However, you’re kidding yourself if you think you can do it all and do it well. The key is finding someone you can trust, and training the person well so that you can take a hands-off approach.
5. You want to ensure you are indispensable
It’s only natural to worry about employees stealing a little bit of your thunder, especially if they do the work better than you do. You may fear losing credit or even delegating yourself right out of a job.
It’s quite the contrary, though. When you lighten your workload, you make room to focus on the tasks that only you can do and the business initiatives that can have a real impact on growth.
6. You won’t admit you don’t know how to delegate
It’s tough to admit you are lacking a “basic” managerial skill, especially if you’re an experienced leader, but cut yourself a break. To effectively delegate, you must be a strong, clear, concise communicator.
You must be able to fully articulate your goals and establish expectations, and you must be able to offer feedback to correct unacceptable work. It takes time and practice, but it does get easier. So take the first step, and start delegating work today.
A final Note: Give credit to others
Lastly, when someone to whom you deleted does the job well, make sure you give them credit, both directly to them and in front of others. See “The Importance of Giving Credit” from the Harvard Business Review for tips.
If you need to unload some work, but you don’t know where to start, Prialto can help. Our skilled virtual assistants can take on some of your tasks and start adding value almost immediately. Learn more.