The Bitter Truth About Why Leaders Don't Empower Others

The ability to spread responsibilities is critical. Yet, many leaders fail in doing that.

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Do you trust your team?

Are you effective at delegating?

Trust and delegation create an essential mix for your ability to empower others. If you suck in these two, your coworkers will notice right away.

You should look for barriers that prevent you from spreading responsibility. You can overcome them as long as you are aware of them.


Why is empowerment important?

What if I told you that people want to be trusted and treated like adults?

The workplace is not a kindergarten.

Leaders are often so drowned in managerial tasks that they forget they should not be ‘doers’ but rather ‘thinkers’. Often, I have seen managers even competing with their teams.

That way you can block the development, innovation, and career aspirations of your team. It’s a really bitter situation when leaders don’t delegate as learning curves stagnate.

On the flip side, if you empower others, you can soon collect seeds of your trust, such as:

  • You have more time for your strategic work

  • You can mentor and coach others better

  • It spreads knowledge and supports innovation

  • It ensures that your coworkers are actively participating

  • It supports motivation and engagement

Isn’t it great? However, there are a few hesitations to consider.

You don’t have time

You have heard it a million times. To empower others, you need to delegate. What if you don’t have time to explain the task? What if your team has never done it and you don't want them to fail?

Time is your enemy and your friend. It depends on how you treat it.

Leaders have the perception that training takes too much effort. I coached a manager who lacked patience. Whenever he delegated a task and his colleague came to ask for something, he lost his nerves and took it back.

So, you need to reserve time to empower others. It is your investment in your team.

Take one step at a time. You don’t have to delegate everything at once. But you can break it into smaller tasks and slowly build a full picture. Look at the future, it will pay off.

You are a control freak

Have you heard about micromanagers? There is always at least one around your workplace. Micromanagers and addicted to control.

Many leaders who don't empower others are just like that — they don’t want to give up control.

“I am a manager.”

Being in a leadership position makes people proud and empowered. So, when they realize they need to share their pie, it is frightening. Even more when you think that you have responsibility for tasks others do.

You want to be helpful and you offer a hand here and there, and here and here you go again. The vicious cycle of micromanaging starts.

Talking to your team often is helpful, but it is not necessary. Let them learn. Schedule some regular checks to decrease your anxiety. You will see that everything will work out fine when you let go.

Who is the star?

Leaders can be quite cocky. They want to be the most successful.

When you are promoted to a management position, you gain a lot of confidence in your abilities. You feel like you deserve it. But things have also changed.

Now you are not alone. You have teams who work for you.

Who’s getting credit? You or them?

If you don’t perform the tasks that made you promoted in the first place, are you incompetent? You may have trouble finding your way as a leader. Many people have the feeling that if they don’t complete tasks, they will not get any credit.

Wake up. You need to learn to share credit with others. As your teams are your brains and limbs. The better they do, the better you do as a leader.

You lose tasks you enjoy

It is bitter but inevitable.

Image credit Makeameme


Empowerment also means that you need to share tasks that you enjoy. You don’t want to share them, but you have to.

It hurts. They tell you:

  • You have to develop others.

  • You are no longer able to work on your favorite tasks.

  • You have to make others succeed.

  • You have to sit in strategic meetings.

I know. The leadership role is tougher than you think. That’s why many leaders don’t share their responsibilities and are terrible at delegating. They don’t want to change.

You may be comfortable with what you do, and when you need to share it, it’s like an attack on your personal integrity.

Leaders need to find different sources of satisfaction to replace the loss of their favorite tasks. Like being happy when others succeed. But your competitive nature may be against it for a while.

Everyone is too busy

Here comes the trouble. What if everyone is too busy? Then you feel like you can’t overload them even more.

The truth is that many leaders don’t want to bother their already busy teams. So, work is being done on autopilot.

You are playing with fire here as it is a premise that is not doing justice to you or your team. If you don’t spread responsibility, everyone will suffer. Don’t assume that your coworkers don’t have time to learn or to take on a new task. You’d better talk to them.

Without a proper discussion, you can’t make a wise decision. Let your team speak and find solutions. You have the big picture in mind. Set priorities. One ultimate goal is to empower others.

So what now?

You feel barriers and constraints that prevent you from empowering your team members. So, you choose to fail that.


What if you could do better?

Everything starts with trust. Get to know your team. As you learn more about them, you will be able to rely on them and delegate some of your responsibilities to them.

Empowerment does not mean you lose anything. Not at all! You gain more time, more fun, and more loyal employees. That’s a sweet deal.


Take a step today toward the future.




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