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Do you ever feel overwhelmed leading your business and yet see people on your team without enough to keep them busy?

If so, it’s a sure warning sign that you’re not delegating properly.

In fact, most business leaders don’t like delegation – arguably the main thing restricting their growth, and why 96% of businesses have 10, or fewer, employees and most of these 3 or less.

Probably the main concern that many people have is that delegating will take longer and produce less satisfactory results than doing the task oneself. Just remember the adage about teaching a man to fish instead of just giving him a fish. The latter is much quicker but needs to be repeated day in and day out. Teaching takes longer and might need intervention in the early stages, but the time saved will very quickly eclipse the extra time spent initially.

The role of the leader is to lead, not just do. Leadership is about ensuring the business runs efficiently and effectively, developing your team and focusing your primary energy for working ON, rather than just IN the business. Leadership means developing the vision, putting the strategy plans and processes in place to achieve that vision and being constantly aware of the conditions in which the business finds itself so the strategy plans can be adapted as necessary.

Leadership is not building the proverbial product yourself but building a team that can build that product.

Look at where you spend your time today. In fact, it’s often instructive to map it over a period of, say, a week and see just how you spend your time. How many of the tasks are repetitive? How many could be performed by somebody else? What is the value of your time (dollars per hour), and what is the cost of hiring somebody to take on some of these tasks?

The well-known Pareto principle applies to time spent, as to most areas of life. You will typically find that just 20% of the time you spend during the week results in 80% of your income. Imagine what would happen to your income, then, if you could spend 30% of your time in such productive areas, or even 40%…

By delegating those tasks that can be performed by others you free up your time so you can focus more on the critical income-producing issues.

So, how do you delegate effectively? After all, there’s no point in doing so if it all comes back to you anyway.

  1. Determine the tasks you’ve been doing that can, and should, be delegated to others. Make a list and define each task clearly in terms of what is required, resources needed, and time expected (hours, deadlines as appropriate, etc.).
    • Determine the most appropriate person to handle each task, understanding their competencies in the context of what is needed. If you don’t have the right person on your team, hire somebody. And remember, you might well find it better to outsource, or hire a contractor by the hour, for some tasks, especially if the time demands are less than full-time – a reason why Virtual Assistants have become so much in demand, for example.
      • Agree the tasks with the relevant people, ensuring they understand what is required, when, and the consequences (positive and negative) of the task being delegated by repeating their understanding back to you. Confirm, too, that they have the necessary resources and put all details in writing to assure commitment. Accountability, of course, being a key point in effective leadership.

      If you’re familiar with the OKR framework concept which I wrote about last year, you will see how this all ties back to the framework, with the tasks being delegated forming a part of that person’s objectives and being measured in this way.

      As Bill Miller, the technology industry consultant, speaker, author, coach and executive advisor, said in his book, ‘The Rookie CEO,’ “The best CEOs I worked for were great at delegation, held their teams accountable and [were] accountable to the board of directors.”

      And to maximise your effectiveness for the tasks that you’re not delegating, remember that focus is key: studies are clear that multitasking simply does not work and that you can save up to 80% of the time to complete a task if you work through it without interruption or distraction from start to finish.


      A growing business needs more people. More people means more delegation. Master the skills of hiring “the right” people and delegation, and your business will be well positioned for sustained growth.



      I work with successful owner-led businesses to enhance their growth, profitability and business value.

      If you’d like to have a conversation about your business objectives and concerns, book a free 30-minute call with me here. I’d be delighted to talk with you.


      #BusinessFitness #Accountability #Attitude #Culture #Delegation #Entrepreneur #Excellence #Leadership #Overwhelm #Productivity #Success #Teams


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      If you’d like to learn more, these related posts might help:

      You might also find this Harvard Business Review article worth reading: Why Aren’t You Delegating?




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