The Most Common Reasons Leaders Fail to Delegate

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to growth, low team morale, and not sustaining momentum has to do with leaders who fail to delegate. I often call this dumping delegation.

Either they don’t know how, they don’t see the value or they simply don’t want to, but it hurts their team’s potential.

And I think there are even deeper reasons for failing to delegate.


1. They might appear to be doing less.

Some leaders struggle with giving assignments away for fear that people will think they aren’t working as hard as they could be.

(Pastors struggle with this one a lot.)

2. They fear losing authority.

This is a legitimate fear. Delegation, if it is done right, means they give up the right to control every outcome.

3. They still have to be available, even when delegating.

Delegation doesn’t mean a leader can dump and run. They have to be available to assist, advise and encourage. So, some leaders feel if they are going to be involved anyway—they might as well do it themselves.

4. Someone might not do things the way they would.

Let’s be honest. This is huge, isn’t it? In my experience, those who have this as an excuse usually also assume their way is always best.

(And that one leads to the next one.)

5. It might get done faster and better.

Okay, this one is certainly hard to admit. Faster is one thing, but better? What if they think someone is a better leader than me? Delegation often exposes or grows a new leader. How threatening could that be?

(I know. It’s a pride issue. And, yes, all of us leaders struggle with it at some level.)

6. Someone else might get credit.

When the delegated task is complete the one who led the effort will hopefully be recognized for their work. This will be recognition the leader would have previously received.

7. They simply don’t know the value in delegation.

Frankly, in my opinion, this is the bigger issue. Some leaders have never seen a team healthy enough where everyone has a role to play, everyone is a leader at some level, and everyone gets credit.

Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. He revitalized two churches and planted two more.