14 Reasons Why People Cannot or Will Not Delegate Responsibilities

I am a delegation junkie. Whenever possible, I assign tasks and responsibilities originally assigned to me onto others.

In no place does this happen more than my classroom.

If you ask my former students, they will tell you that as a teacher, my goal is to do nothing. I dream of the day when I can sit at my desk, feet propped up, reading a book, while the classroom bursts with activity and learning around me.

In the classroom, I delegate responsibilities to my students at a rate that astounds people. There is almost nothing that I will not allow my students to do, including teaching my lessons whenever possible. My students take full and complete ownership of the classroom, whether they like it or not, and as a result, they possess great ownership of their learning.

I also know many people who cannot or will not delegate responsibilities onto others. They are either ineffective or unwilling to delegate work. The reasons that people cannot or will not delegate are varied, but I believe that they come down to these 14 reasons:

  1. They possess an unwavering belief in "one right way."
  2. They cannot accept any less than 100 percent of their expectations being met.
  3. They lack faith in the capacity of others.
  4. They fail to understand the importance of autonomy when delegating responsibilities.
  5. They fail to recognize the value of an initial investment of time in future productivity.
  6. They do not plan ahead.
  7. They do not maintain a to-do list (mentally or physically).
  8. They cannot think open-endedly.
  9. They are ineffective teachers.
  10. They value work over results.
  11. They view a reduction in their work load as a threat to their ego or self worth.
  12. They fear failure.
  13. They are overly attached to habit or routine.
  14. They do not follow up on the delegated in productive and inspiring ways.