Two Things You Should Never Delegate

April 17, 2013

I enjoy learning and writing about leadership—mobilizing people and resources to seize opportunities and solve problems. Nothing makes me more giddy than seeing progress and growth. I love it when things get done. 

In leadership conversations, everyone talks about the importance of delegation in order to get more accomplished. Delegation, at it’s finest, empowers an individual or team to do more than they could ever do alone. Delegation, at it’s worst, is passing the buck on a to-do list you just don’t care about, but probably should

Delegation is a matter of healthy growth, and sometimes survival. However, there are two things that you should never delegate. They are important, but not always urgent… until it’s too late.

There is a war on our time and priorities.

We are in a constant struggle to keep first things first, and pour the right amounts of time and energy into the right things. Delegating tasks helps balance that struggle.

But, if I want to build a true and lasting legacy, there are two things I must not delegate:

1. Loving my wife. Nothing and no one can or should love my wife Crystal the way I’m supposed to. This has to be every married man’s first priority. In the name of accomplishing great things, it’s all too easy to let my bride slip as a priority. I need to fight to not let this happen. She needs to know she’s a precious gift that gets top priority. It’s a blessing to be given a lifelong friend and companion, so make the most of your time with her.

2. Being dad to my kids. Many men have tried to delegate this responsibility, but I’ve yet to see it work. I can’t offload my responsibility as dad to anyone else. My kids have to be a higher priority than my career. There will be those busy seasons I can’t avoid, but if the “season” never ends and my kids are suffering, it’s not worth it. They need me to be the steady and faithful presence they can count on.

These may seem obvious, and I suppose my point is rather simple: I want to see husbands and fathers lead well, love well, teach well, delegate well, and accomplish great things—but not at the expense of delegating the wrong things.

Over 40% of first marriages end in divorce. At least 1 in 4 American children live in father-absent homes, and that doesn’t account for emotionally absent dads. 

Long nights and working every weekend can probably benefit your business. Taking work home can be a good way to make sure projects run smoothly. I do both of those and am a big advocate of working hard. The problem comes when the habits develop that send us down the path of steadily beginning to neglect our true priorities. For me, it can be as simple as my iPhone. I can be in the same room as my family but not be there. When it’s family time, I have to consciously make the decision to be present.

Is it really considered success if we sacrifice our families to get there?

Life is an endless string of difficult decisions and real consequences. The real victory is not measured strictly in financial or business accomplishment, but in a good legacy. The most powerful part of that legacy is your family.

When you’re on your deathbed, you won’t be asking to see the stuff you’ve amassed. You’ll want your family there. You will never regret a single moment you invested in them.