Get over your fear of delegation

“Things are hectic,” Claire said as we started our coaching session. “I have several new properties on the market, which has added a lot to my work load.”

“Do you have an assistant?” I asked.

“I have a great assistant,” Claire responded, “but I like to do things myself. For example, when it comes to a substantial document printing job, instead of teaching her how to do it, I do it myself. I have no confidence that she’ll remember how to do it, and I’ll have to teach her again.”

“Has she let you down before?” I asked.

“No. But I fear when it happens, it’ll be disastrous. So as I get busier, I have more to do and I can’t let go.”

“What are the advantages of letting go?” I asked.

“I spend 2–3 hours a week updating and copying flyers,” Claire said. “If I could use that time to meet with clients, show properties and network with other Realtors, I would be more productive. Each property I sell can mean a difference of $10,000 or more.”

“That’s significant.” I said. “What are the disadvantages of letting go?”

“My fear is having something important fall through the cracks,” she said. “When I was in school, I hated group projects because other people didn’t take their schoolwork as seriously as I did. I’d work hard and our grade would suffer because others didn’t care. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to trust anyone.”

“It reminds me of something I learned called the pyramid of delegation,” I began. “At the bottom of the triangle are tasks that many people can do — answering phones, copying, filing, etc. This level is great for temporary workers because even with little to no knowledge of an office, they are able to help. As you move up the pyramid, the tasks become more specialized.”

Claire’s eyes lit up, “As the broker, I’m at the top of the pyramid.”

“Exactly,” I said. “But what happens if you spend your time at the bottom of the pyramid making copies? Who is tending to the tasks at the top?”

“I get it,” Claire said with a smile, “but I’m still resistant to delegating. I know, however, that there’s a cost to me NOT delegating. Even missing one property transaction is significant.”

“Knowing that missing one transaction could be worth $10,000 or more, how can you take steps to trust and ‘let go’?” I asked.

“This week I’ll monitor my time based on the pyramid model to give me a better idea of how costly NOT delegating is. I’ll also experiment by delegating three tasks I normally do myself. It will be hard, but I’m willing to try,” Claire said.

Before she left, Claire smiled and said, “I don’t have my calendar with me, but I’ll have my assistant call to schedule our next appointment. That will be my first step in delegation.”

Coaching challenge: If you resist delegating, create a list of tasks you do on a regular basis.

Draw a triangle. Take the tasks from your list and distribute them on the triangle based on how much training is needed to complete this task.

The ones at the top (near the peak) are something that only you can do. As you move to the bottom of the triangle, list tasks that you are doing that others could help you with. What could you gain by delegating (time, energy, money, etc.)?


Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach living in Grand Junction. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. For more information, go to:


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