As our organization continues to grow, there comes a time when we learn that we can't do it all ourselves. For leaders, who are used to being in charge, this means a new type of pain: the pain of delegating.
Baby boomers are used to being in control, so delegating can be hard for people like us. The more I delegate, the more out of control I am; and the greater the opportunity there is for something to go wrong.
Delegating can cause conflict, disappointment, and discouragement; ultimately, it could still mean that I end up doing it myself. That's why we often hear leaders say, "If I want it done right, I'll just do it myself." We like the feeling of control that comes from knowing that we rise or fall based on our own actions. Yet control can camouflage pain—the pain associated with doing it ourselves.
We can't do it all alone. Other aspects of our work and family life suffer, and we never live up to our perfectionist tendencies. We may choose to go it alone; yet when we're in the situation, we complain there is never anyone to help us. The truth is, people are willing to help us; we just have to be willing to go through the pain of delegating.
When a leader continues to hold on long after he should have let go, it is a good sign that he is drowning. Only drowning people have a death grip, so if someone doesn't want to give up it could mean he or she is drowning. Avoid people who can't let go. Drowning victims will try to take their rescuers down with them in their desperate struggles to hang on.
Leaders who haven't learned to delegate are needy and clinging. They will drown themselves in their inability to delegate to others. All leaders have the same opportunity to trade one kind of pain for another. Either we do tasks ourselves or we delegate them.
(Taken in part from: What's Shakin' Your Ladder? by Dr. Sam Chand)