Letting Go to Grow – It’s All About Delegation

In our bid to find enough hours in the day we immerse ourselves in a sea of self-help books, searching for the silver bullet that will relieve us of our workload, so we can start living the life we’ve always dreamt of.

We all know the adage that 20% of our activities generates 80% of our value, yet why in this fast paced, ever- changing world, with countless opportunities all vying for our attention, has the ability to delegate become such a lost art form?

Like a lot of business owners I’ve been there. I’ve worked ridiculous hours, ensured that my diary was overflowing with appointments and let my inner control freak on the loose. In the midst of it you feel empowered, in-control of all the little details and comforted that all of this hard work will eventually pay off. However this is dead wrong.

This situation is a lose-lose for all involved. It’s certainly not sustainable for you. Inevitably everyone burns out, no amount of coffee can substitute months of late nights and early mornings. And how about your staff? Forced to become complacent in their role due to your micro-management. By this time the cracks have well and truly appeared and it won’t be long until everything that you’ve built, with all of that “hard work”, will eventually crumble.

What is often forgotten is the skill that delegation requires. In fact often those who think they are good delegators actually aren’t. Ask yourself this: do you enjoy looking busy? Are you concerned about what your employees may think of you if they catch you having some down time? Are you nervous about handing over entire projects to employees? If you answered yes to any of these it’s time to take a good look at your management style.

In the best run businesses, from the managing director down, decisions are taken at the lowest possible level. Take it from one of the business world’s most iconic figures, Sir Richard Brandson, who says: “your company must be set up to run without you.” This is where a significant level of trust comes into play, when it comes time to hand over the reigns to the capable people you hired. Do expect mistakes in the short term but in the end you will be pleasantly surprised, I can assure you.

To get you started I’ve create some useful DO’S and DON’T’S to help set you on your path of freedom.


Be specific, thorough and clear. Spend the time at the start to clearly explain the task, agree on the results to be achieved and identify the resources needed.

Delegate the right to be wrong. Resist the temptation to interfere. Allow your staff the autonomy to make decisions or you will risk them checking back constantly and relying too heavily on your advice

Encourage people to think through their own problems. You can do this by turning peoples’ questions back to them and asking them for their ideas on how a given problem should be solved.


Overlap delegated jobs. Nobody likes to discover somebody else has been working on the job, which they have been given. It shows a lack of trust.

Be a constant ‘checker-upper’. Make sure you exercise control without constant interference and checking up. Remember how it feels to have someone constantly looking over your shoulder.

Hound a person for their failures. Use failures as a platform for learning and coaching to do a better job next time. We’ve all had to learn at some stage.

Delegate gradually. It takes a time, so don’t rush it. At the end of the day good delegation is about playing to your strengths and everyone else’s strengths, so be prepared to readjust in the beginning.

Once you’ve mastered this art you’ll be surprised at how productive and creative you can become. You’re business will flourish seemingly on its own and you will be free to think about what’s next.

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