Proper Delegating Helps Reduce Burnout


According to Infinite Potential’s 2021 Global Workplace Burnout Study:

“Middle-managers (those who manage managers) are reporting the highest levels of burnout within organisations. More women are burnt out, but men are close behind.”


“40% of people who changed jobs in 2021 listed burnout as the reason for leaving.”


Constant workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed is how the World Health Organisation define burnout.


Middle Managers being told they need to delegate more as a solution to high stress, work overload and burnout prevention is, no doubt well-intended, but not it doesn’t go far enough. Has a senior leader ever said that, or something similar, to you: “You just need to delegate more!” If so, how did you feel?


Learning how to delegate starts with identifying what stops you from delegating. 

Ask yourself, , what truly stops you from delegating? 

Some of the reasons managers share with me include:

  • Everyone is already too busy.
  • I’m not sure they’ll do it to my standard.
  • I don’t want to cop the blame if it goes wrong, again!
  • I tried delegating but it all went pear-shaped.
  • I tried it once and I had to re-do all the work anyway.
  • I’m too busy to delegate
  • I don’t know what I can actually delegate.
  • It’s quicker if I just do it myself.

Do any of these resonate with you?

When it comes down to it, when we get to the heart of it, managers share their deeper concerns:

  • Who gets the blame if it doesn’t work?
  • It’s too big a risk, I don’t know how it will all turn out.
  • Who gets the credit if it works?
  • I don’t want to be shown up: what if they’re better than me?
  • I actually don’t have a clue.
  • But I won’t be in control
  • I just don’t trust them!

Delegating – proper delegating – takes time. In Delegation workshops, I am always saying ‘fast is slow’ when it comes to delegating. It takes understanding of what your roadblocks are so you can then actively and strategically remove them in order to then shift to learning the processes and structure for being an effective and confident delegator. 

When you can delegate – properly delegate – you will feel far more in control; people will feel more engaged – and therefore will be more willing to step up; more work can continue when you’re not present; you’re not the bottleneck to progress. these are just a handful of the benefits of delegating properly.


Delegating will help shift burnout so it’s critical to learn how to delegate effectively and confidently.

Have you identified your roadblocks to delegating?

There are three ways you can remove your roadblocks to delegating.

1. Assumptions

Check that your roadblock is based in facts or assumptions. For example, Rod told me during a Delegation Workshop that three of his shift supervisors complained about how they and their respective teams were at capacity so handing out more work was just going to break them. I asked Rod, how long ago did the supervisors make these complaints? What was going on that everyone was at capacity? (While you want your workforce working, to do so at breaking point is not healthy.) I asked him, what did he do to check in that everyone was working on current priorities, that the work they were doing was being done efficiently and effectively.

Upon reflection Rod said that the complaints were a few months old and he hadn’t even thought of checking and helping his supervisors ensure they were prioritising work. He simply took what they said at face value – which is a good sing of trust – however there was scope to explore why they were at breaking point not simply accept that and try to carry on.

2. People

If trust is an issue then relationships is the key. Take time to build stronger relationships with your people, the people you want to be able to feel confident delegating to. The better you know someone the more likely the trust will be present. 

It might feel like socialising and time wasting but nothing is wasted when relationships are strong, open, respectful and trusting.

3. Process

‘Drive by delegating’ is like setting someone up for failure, and when they fail you’ll be disappointed in them, and they’ll not trust or respect you for putting them in that situation in the first place – a real lose:lose situation.

Slow is fast: plan out the delegation and take time to have an open two-way conversation setting up the delegation with the person. Unless you’re in a hospital emergency room, you have time to delegate. Time invested now equals money, time and stress saved later.

Think about the task: what does a successful outcome would be. Then consider the most appropriate person. Discuss the task with them, ask for their input. Agree on resources, help, milestones and check-ins. Make sure you follow-up: delegating and disappearing is another sure fire fail.

In one report, 46% of companies surveyed reported a HIGH and SOMEWHAT HIGH concern for workers’ delegation skills and yet only 28% offered delegation training. This highlights that we all know delegating is important but when you know how to delegate effectively and confidently it’ll contribute to reducing burnout.

Check out the full online delegation course!