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Failing to delegate? 5 signs you’re hurting your business

Your day should focus on business development, not routine matters

3-minute read

Are you delegating enough work to employees?

If you’re like many business owners, you may not even realize you have a problem letting go of tasks. And that could be hurting your business’s growth and employee engagement.

Entrepreneurs are used to doing a lot by themselves, bootstrapping it and growing the business on their own. The concept of delegating is difficult because it’s the opposite of how they achieved success.”

Here is a checklist of five warning signs to test whether you’re delegating enough.

1) You’re bogged down with routine tasks

How much of your day is spent on cleaning up “milk spills?” Your day should be focused on vision, strategy and business development, not routine matters.

Take a look at the tasks you take on and practice delegating those that aren’t high priority, complex or strategic. Every time you are doing a task that you feel you shouldn’t be doing, it’s an indication that you are not delegating enough.

Set a goal for how many tasks you can delegate each day or week, and how much time you spend preparing your team to take on more responsibility.

One trick is to pick a reliable, trustworthy employee, and start assigning them your low priority tasks. Make it clear they can ask all the questions they need to do the work.

2) You feel stressed

If your stress level is rising, it could be a sign you need to delegate more. Watch your behaviour, looking for signs of stress like short temper, sleeplessness, difficulty focusing and inefficiency. Stress goes in a cycle and inefficiency starts to stack up and tends to get worse. An entrepreneur can start to see a downward spiral.

3) You don’t trust your staff

Many entrepreneurs don’t delegate because they believe it’s faster to just do a task themselves. It’ll also get done the way they want, they reason.

If you’ve had that mindset, it’s another warning sign you’re not delegating enough. Consider the logic of your thought process. By spending a few hours training someone how to do something, you free yourself from doing that task forever.

You can only do so much by yourself. Refusing to delegate limits the size of your business. As well, it’s important to give employees the leeway to do the job you hired them for, while also realizing they may make mistakes as they learn.

4) Important tasks don’t get done

If important tasks are chronically left undone or not done well, that’s another warning sign you could be stretched too thin.

5) Employees seem unsupportive

Do you feel your staff isn’t supporting you enough? Such a lack of support is a common reaction to poor delegation.

Employees usually want to do a good job, but it’s frustrating for them if you’re constantly stepping in, micromanaging or issuing commands without clear instructions and support.

If you’re bad at delegating, your employees will feel there’s no point and won’t be interested in following instructions.