By Corey Jahnke

“Can you do me a HUGE favor?” my Pharmacy District Manager (Kelly) asked. 

Teamwork Team Holding Rope Light bulb Delegation

“Anything for you my friend!” I responded hoping to make a good impression. 

“Well, as you know, I’ve recently taken over your district and I noticed that the last employee satisfaction survey showed that our pharmacists are very unhappy.  I took over shortly after the survey was taken and I don’t think things are any better…” she openly confided. 

“I am wondering if you would hold a conference call with them and find out why they are unhappy so I can write a plan of action to serve them better.  I feel they would be more honest if I wasn’t involved.”

 “Brilliant!” I responded enthusiastically, and I held the conference call a few days later.  What I discovered was absolutely fascinating and I was excited to report the results to her. 

Survey Says

“Well my friend, after the call I did a little research, and it turns out that we have two very important, and very universal challenges to overcome: 

  1.  90% of workers cannot separate the messenger from the message, and
  2. At least that many simply refuse to delegate.”

 “So what are you saying in English?”

 “They feel that they are overloaded, they have no idea how they are supposed to ‘get it all done’, they won’t give any of it away, they feel that YOU did this to them (not the company) so they won’t ask you for help, and as a result, they simply get angry and shut down.”

 “Wow, seriously?  What am I supposed to do with that?” she wondered out loud.

 “Well, this is a tremendous opportunity for you to teach them that you are a resource!”  I said confidently. 

“How so?” 

“If you can teach them how and why to delegate and that it’s okay to ‘empty’ their own plates and combine that with a little filtering of the direction from above, you would become a trusted advisor and friend and not a representative from ‘The Dark Side.’ ” I said with a huge smile. 

“So what do you do?  You never seem stressed out…” 

“Well, as I’ve told you, outside of work I’ve spent the last five years studying successful people and how they became successful.  When I started, I wanted to know what successful people KNEW that unsuccessful people don’t know.  I wanted to know what successful people DID that unsuccessful people don’t do.  

“I quickly learned something that changed my life:  It isn’t what they know or don’t know.  It isn’t what they do or don’t do.  It’s how they think.  Successful people think differently.  They really do. 

“When it comes to delegation, unsuccessful people come up with about 7 different reasons why they can’t delegate.  Successful people are tremendously focused on making sure that they can stay within their key skill set.  They WANT to delegate effectively so that they can put all of their efforts and energy on their key skills, which are the one, two, or at the most, three things that they do at a world-class level. 

The Choice

“Once I learned that, I made the decision that I was going to spend all of my time at work doing only three things: 

  1. Customer service
  2. Employee development
  3. Networking with the key players that can help me grow my business (doctors, dentists, nurses, etc.) 

“Everything else gets delegated away to someone who can do it better or at least do it ‘good enough’.  As a result, I have almost no stress, everything gets done, and my business is very successful because MY time and skill constraints don’t hold it back.” 

“WOW” Kelly said trying to take it all in. 

“You mentioned that there were seven main reasons why people DON’T delegate.  What are they?” she asked enthusiastically. 

The 7 Obstacles to Delegation

“Well according to my research and my gut confirms these, in no particular order, they are: 

#1: Too Busy

They are ‘too busy’ to teach and train their potential delegates how to do what they need done.  This is very short-term logic and obviously costs them a ton of time in the long-term. 

#2: Lose Control

They are afraid of ‘losing control’ of the project.  They are responsible for the outcome and they don’t want to get in trouble for a poorly done job.  Delegation to someone who has less on her plate and is more suited to a particular task actually increases the likelihood of a successful project. 

#3: Recognition

They are afraid of ‘not getting credit’ for the task getting done.  They would be smarter to seek credit for heading an amazing team of achievers. 

#4: Favorite Tasks

They are afraid that they will lose the ‘tasks they enjoy’.  This is where careful selection of delegated tasks based on the total effectiveness of the team comes into play.  The enjoyment that the leader will feel when a team member succeeds far surpasses ‘task enjoyment’. 

#5: Others Are Not Good Enough

They think they can do everything better.  What they need to focus on is what tasks they can do at a world-class level and trust in the capabilities of their team for those tasks that distract them from working in their ‘key skill areas’. 

#6: Job Protection

They are afraid they will ‘delegate themselves out of a job’.  It is the people who cannot lead a strong team that have to worry about their future.  There is always a job for strong leaders. 

#7: Confidence in Team

They have no confidence in their team members.  Since they haven’t delegated, taught, trained, and actually delegated effectively, their team has no ‘success history’ for them to rely on.  This is ironic and has only one solution.” 

Now for Some Delegation Practice

“That’s wild!” she exclaimed excitedly.  “I guess you’ve shown me some serious holes in my own thinking.  As a matter of fact, when I hold a meeting about better delegation I’m thinking about delegating the training portion to someone on my team who has researched the topic thoroughly” she finished with a wink and a smile.

About Corey Jahnke

Corey Jahnke - BioCorey is an author, speaker, and executive coach specializing in helping corporate and independent business women create winning teams. He is the creator of the Prescription For Sanity System and author of the forthcoming book “Show Up! And You’re Halfway There”.

He regularly shares his wisdom, energy, positive attitude and practical approach to leadership based on his real life experiences as a pharmacy manager, coach and a very active student of the industry greats. 

You can connect with Corey at or on Facebook.