The Dark Side of Delegation

Delegation is just common sense. It’s no surprise that it’s a common thread running through every time management strategy and system out there.
My time is limited, so of course I want to pack it full of high value tasks. Of course I want to work on tasks that only I can do and tasks that require my unique strengths.

But after making an effort to delegate as much as feasible, I began to see an unpleasant attitude developing in my heart. It stopped being about pursuing effectiveness and started being about my pride.

I began to delegate out things that I considered to be “beneath me.” It became an ego boost to pass off something “low level.” Whenever I had to do one of these tasks myself (because as a self-employed person with no staff, there are very few people to whom I can delegate), I began to get frustrated and angry: deep inside part of me was saying “I shouldn’t have to do this stupid stuff.”

Not surprisingly, I also began to view the people to whom I delegated as less important than me.

I’ve seen this pattern played out again and again by many other people in many other settings: business people, husbands and wives, even church staff.

I’m not saying that we have to just sit back, smile, and go with the status quo. It’s great to be frustrated as long as you’re frustrated with not being the best steward of your God-given resources – and as long as that frustration leads to sensible changes.

But how quickly it can become a pride issue.

The next time you delegate something, stop and examine your heart. Are you delegating for the right reasons and with the right attitude?

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  • Chameli Johnston

    Thank you for writing this post! I’ve witnessed and experienced the “dark side of delegation” mostly in relationship with men in my life. How you describe these circumstances gives me better language to communicate to others about this point. I love, will use, and will share your question: “Are you delegating for the right reasons and with the right attitude?”