Why Young Leaders Struggle with Delegation

Some reasons why young leaders struggle with delegation.

Understanding the strengths of team members will assist the young leader in two ways. First, it can build confidence in the team members’ ability to carry out assignments. Second, it will help the young leader determine which assignments should be delegated to specific team members. And, hopefully, they will learn that there are those on their team who can carry out certain assignments better than they would be able to.


Any leader can struggle with delegation. It is one of those things that we know we should do, but rarely do we do well. This struggle is often intensified with young leaders who are just realizing what it really means to lead those who lead.

Carol Walker wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review titled, “Saving Your Rookie Managers from Themselves.” Many of her thoughts are applicable to young leaders who struggle with delegation. By combing a few of her thoughts with my own, let’s look at four reasons why young leaders struggle with delegation:

  1. Fear of losing prominence

Because of their age, young leaders typically have not held their leadership role for any significant period of time. This lack of tenure can lead to a sense of insecurity. And while this can push the young leader to work hard at their new role, it can also cause the young leader to personally oversee numerous projects in hope of being perceived as invaluable. But they are undermining themselves. This strategy for security will only limit their ability to lead.

  1. Fear of relinquishing control

Trusting in your own ability is easy. But this is not leadership. Leadership requires trusting in another’s ability. Up until this point, many young leaders only needed to rely on their own ability to achieve goals. But now they must rely on another’s ability. This requires relinquishing some level of control, a scary thought for many young leaders.

  1. Lack of patience
  2. Fear of overburdening their team members

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