Merge's Blog

Unable to delegate effectively? You may be the reason.

Liz Weber is not only a respected business colleague and a friend, but also an in-demand coach and consultant to executive teams who need help with strategic planning, succession planning, and leadership team development.  And of course, I’m thrilled to bits that she agreed to guest on the blog today.

Are You Too Busy Being Busy?

Do you work 10, 11, or 12 hour days and never get ahead?  Do you believe the more tasks you physically do yourself, the greater your chances are you can inspire your team to do more? When that doesn’t work, do you ask yourself why no one seems to be working as hard or caring as much as you? If so, a primary reason for your frustration may be your own management style. You may be too busy being busy to effectively manage.

If you are jumping in and taking on team work or scurrying from task to task, often shifting direction, your behavior (i.e., your management style) is sending an off-putting message to others. The message you are conveying is that you are scattered and indecisive at best, or out-of-control at worst.  Most team members will recognize the message right away—and they will stay away.

Team members distance themselves from “overly busy” and out-of-control managers by not becoming too involved.

  • Why should team members dedicate their time and effort to a project when you, the manager, might jump in and take over?
  • Why should team members become committed, engaged, or passionate about their work, when your history has shown you will seemingly change course for no logical reason?
  • Why should they step up and take ownership of work, projects, and random tasks, when you have a habit of jumping in and doing the work the way you want it done and in the timeframes you want?

Ironically, as all of the above is happening, you as the manager, probably see team members who are disengaged and uncaring. The more you throw projects at them hoping one of the projects will excite somebody (anybody), the more the employees seem to disengage. So, you believe you have to do the work yourself just to get it done. However, the team sees you as once again getting more involved and controlling. The more you try to offer them to become excited, the more they disconnect. It is a vicious roller coaster ride; it keeps going up and down, around and around. How can it be stopped?

As the manager, it’s your job to focus, manage, and support the team’s efforts. Understand that first and foremost. Your job is to identify and clear the roadblocks that are in your team members’ way. Identify whatever is inhibiting them from doing their work. Then address it and clear it so your team to move forward.  When you do your job better, your team can do theirs better too. So if you’re in their way, stop being so busy and start managing.

So Liz asked the question – Are you too busy being busy?  Anyone willing to give an honest self-reflective answer?  Please add to the Comments below.  C’mon … it might make you feel better 🙂

Liz is the author of the award-winning book for managers and leaders: Something Needs to Change Around Here -The Five Stages to Leveraging Your Leadership.  Connect with Liz at

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