Do you find it difficult to delegate responsibility?

Posted: Apr 29, 2015 in April 2015

A common tendency in the context of Clinical Perfectionism (to learn more about Clinical Perfectionism see: is difficulty managing time.  Perfectionistic tendencies can make it difficult to allow others to take on tasks.


Anne realized that part of her stress at work was linked to her inability to complete the entirety of her workload on her own.  She had an upcoming presentation on a project her group was developing.  Anne had presented similar content to external stakeholders and wanted to update her presentation to ensure it would be timely and relevant to the internal audience.  Anne noted that her employee Mary had sufficient knowledge to carry out this aspect of the task.  Anne decided she was ready to try to delegate a task.  Here's how she did it:


1.  First, Anne identified the thoughts that made her reluctant to delegate this specific task: "I can't ask Mary to update the slides for my presentation, she will assuredly make mistakes and leave things out".  


2.  Then, she tried a prediction testing experiment.  One way to assess the accuracy of your thoughts is to subject them to a behavioural experiment.  Anne asked Mary to update her presentation to ensure it was relevant to the internal team.


3. Next, Anne analyzed the evidence she gathered from her experiment to evaluate the accuracy of her hypothesis.  You recall that Anne's hypothesis was: Mary will make mistakes and leave things out of the presentation.  Anne reviewed Mary's work and noted that there were no spelling errors. Mary used language that was different than what Anne would have used, but Anne felt that overall, she had included the relevant information.


In conclusion, Anne weighed the amount of time saved by delegating to her team member against the stylistic difference and realized that while Mary was updating the presentation, Anne had the opportunity to complete two other items on her to-do list.  Anne reasoned that this was an excellent trade-off.


Next time we will explore the role of scheduling in time management.