To delegate or not

Dear Doc

As my business grows, I know that I can’t do everything, but do I only employ helpers, or should I start to look for people that can make their own decisions?
To delegate or not to delegate is the quandary I face. It can be risky if I get it wrong, so how do I handle it?


“Once you recognise that the primary purpose of your business is to serve your life and not vice versa, you can then go to work on your business rather than in it.” Michael E. Gerber
You are quite right. I know a number of organisations who delegated themselves out of a job and then out of their business, so you must take care.

With proper planning and training, you can minimise the risk involved.
First of all you have to get over the following feelings:

  • 1 Fear of losing control
  • 2 Regret of giving up jobs you enjoy
  • 3 Belief that you can cope with the job yourself

 Delegation does not mean giving someone a task to perform, it means giving them a result to achieve, for as a manager you should be in overall control of the situation. Remember that the positive tasks you delegate are not your positive tasks, so if you interfere, you will not have time to devote to your own priorities. You won’t lose control if you delegate properly and without delegation you will pretty soon get bogged down.

Yes, you will have to accept mistakes, but you can also enjoy the extra activities that are being carried out under your control. The chances are, that these achievements will be many if you are organised and delegate effectively.
So what you need to do is:

  • 1 Decide what task(s) to delegate
  • 2 Decide to whom you will delegate
  • 3 Clearly instruct and train the individual
  • 4 Inform other people about the change

Delegation is about passing across part of your job. You are giving your subordinates the authority to decide, without asking you and giving them responsibility while you retain overall accountability of carrying the can!

All you need to do is set up an agreed system or regular meetings to monitor the progress of the task once it has been delegated. Indeed, as the person becomes more confident and more competent, the checks and meetings can reduce. Just remember:

  • 1 Be available for advice
  • 2 Actively check up on key points