Home > Building a Business > Knowing When to Delegate

Knowing When to Delegate

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 12 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Business Management Entrepreneurs

Any entrepreneur who has worked hard to set up and run a business wants to maintain control. It’s important, though, to put this in perspective. As a business expands, or as new ventures beckon, an entrepreneur must know when and how to delegate.


Entrepreneurs are accountable for their businesses. This doesn’t mean, however, that they shouldn’t pass on responsibility for certain processes and jobs. After all, delegation isn’t about losing control.

Entrepreneurs’ belief in their responsibilities, and in themselves, can also lead them to assume they perform many tasks better than anyone else. This could be true, but such an attitude may not be good for business.

Is it really sensible, for instance, to persist doing jobs that could be handled by a member of staff? Becoming too involved in the daily affairs of a business can divert entrepreneurs from key issues. These include devising strategies to maintain business momentum, and making sure every aspect of an enterprise is working effectively.


Entrepreneurs must therefore trust staff to take on the jobs they once did. If entrepreneurs have doubts about the success of such delegation, perhaps there are problems within the business.

Have employees had sufficient training, for example? If not, entrepreneurs must address this immediately. A skills audit can soon highlight what training individual staff members require.

Are employees reluctant to take on extra duties because they’re already overworked? Entrepreneurs need to speak to their team and identify those who need support, and those who should have their workloads reviewed.

The key factor throughout is for entrepreneurs to communicate with staff. Letting employees know what’s happening in a business and why there’s a requirement for delegation, rarely creates resentment; in fact, it helps build trust.

How to Let Go

Even so, it can still be difficult to let go of certain jobs despite the obvious talents of staff to do them. One way of resolving this dilemma is for an entrepreneur to note down his or her daily tasks. An entrepreneur should then work through the list, and question how vital it is to retain each one.

If it helps, an entrepreneur should consider the tasks from the point of view of cost-effectiveness. In other words, bearing in mind the value of the entrepreneur’s time, is it cheaper for someone else to do the job?

Don’t Meddle

Once entrepreneurs have initiated delegation schemes, they mustn’t meddle. Interfering in a business, especially at management level, soon demotivates staff. Entrepreneurs must understand that staff usually welcome occasional advice, but don’t appreciate regular meddling.

Delegation Skills Training

If necessary, entrepreneurs should take a delegation skills training course. This reinforces the message that delegation is a sound business concept, and one that can actually result in greater profitability. Delegation skills training also provides the encouragement to start shedding work to others without delay.

Delegation is Essential

Delegation doesn’t come easily to a lot of people. Entrepreneurs often regard passing the reins of management to someone else as a risk. They may well be right to take this view; but for many businesses delegation is essential, and there’s no reason why it cannot be successful.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word: