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The Art of Improving Your Delegation Skills: How to Burn Bright Without Burning Out

Approaching the concept of delegation with intentionality can help to ease the transition as you gradually let others help to do the work of your business.

Delegation Skills Business Coaching Business Training

If you’re the owner of a small business, delegating some of your entrepreneurial tasks to your team members is beneficial and counterintuitive.

Most small businesses are the brainchild of a visionary who saw a need in the marketplace and was determined to meet it creatively and purposefully. The mindset and skillset necessary to achieve such a risk-fraught undertaking belong only to a small segment of the business community. Resourceful entrepreneurs can often feel completely alone in pursuing success because the initial spark of ingenuity that served as the catalyst to launch their business was uniquely theirs. Even if partners were involved in the creation of the enterprise, one person is usually to thank for the foundational concept upon which everything else is being built.

Many thriving and relevant small businesses exist within the realm of sole-proprietorship, remaining the personal effort of the entrepreneur even as the company grows and develops. There’s so much passion and personal investment on the part of the proprietor that the line between the individual and the business can become blurred. A certain justifiable possessiveness can become intertwined in daily operations to such a degree that the business almost becomes an extension of the owner. This attitude can be a driver for determined and focused growth, but, unfortunately, it can also end up sowing the seeds of life-work imbalance that ultimately leads to a decrease in efficiency and productivity and possibly even results in burnout for the entrepreneur.

The goal of anyone who owns a business is generally to find practical ways to scale it so that its market reach and revenue generation increase consistently. For anyone doing the solo act, the next logical step to support this involves bringing in other people to provide a structured framework for completing the required work in a reasonable timeframe.

More involvement brings the added benefit of bringing additional skills into the mix and the respective experience base of each member who joins the team. These positive factors can tremendously strengthen the business structure and open up new possibilities that never would have existed in the sole proprietorship scenario. But this influx of people into the equation comes with a price, especially for those who have already been operating their business single-handedly for an extended period.

At first, staff assembly is the missing ingredient for success. It can be, but the entrepreneur needs to be very reasonable in how those team members are connected to the fabric of the daily operations, and this is true for all parties concerned. A meticulous study of which staff person is the best fit for each task is undoubtedly a key factor, but before you can do this, you first need to determine exactly what all those tasks look like. If you’ve been going at it alone for several years, what it takes to grind through each business day is now ingrained into you to such a degree that it’s truly second nature. You’re used to doing everything yourself and multiple things at once, so bringing in others requires you first to take a sober look at what you do and how you do it.

Writing everything down is one of the most advantageous ways to truly get the big picture of what your company looks like. Flow charts can be an excellent tool for creating a snapshot of the overall course of a work day, enabling you to divide what was before a chaotic mixture of tasks into the separate ingredients of getting the job done. You will have a blueprint for assigning tasks and creating roles and responsibilities from here. This approach should be taken well before making a job description and posting an opening on a recruiting site. Recognizing that you need help is a good first step, but don’t merely bring a random group of people in and hope for the best. First, take the time to determine what you need help with and the prudent number of people to make this happen.

Various surveys over the years have indicated that one of the most common challenges business owners face is learning how to delegate. The whole idea of “letting go” can seem alien to someone who has clung desperately to the reins of every aspect of the business since its initial inception. If this isn’t dealt with properly, the net result will be frustration for both the business owner and the staff, and the possibility of constructing an innovative and collaborative team dynamic will immediately be compromised. Various factors need to be carefully considered when the whole question of delegation comes up, and approaching these with intentionality can help to ease the transition as you gradually let others help to do the work of your business.

The old expression “If you want something done right, do it yourself” carries a lot of truth, but this can fly in the face of the mindset you need to formulate as the delegating entrepreneur. If you’ve invested the time and energy into interviewing and hiring a staff of people to help you, then you need to be willing to utilize those individuals to the fullest of their potential. It becomes a win-win in which you receive the assistance you need to scale your business, and your staff members end up with a sense of purpose and fulfillment in helping you do so. Although it might be difficult, resist the urge to feel a sense of superiority based on your role as the founder of the company and the one who previously did all the work alone.

An exaggerated sense of urgency can cloud your judgment regarding delegating, especially if a steady stream of new business is coming in. Because you do what you do with the ease of long experience, it’s tempting to believe that you should go ahead and do something to ensure that it gets done better and quicker. Training others can feel overwhelming in a busy schedule. It’s essential first to realize that time invested in properly training and equipping others to take some of the workload off of you may seem cumbersome in the here and now but will pay huge dividends in the future.

Even after you’ve taken the necessary steps to assign tasks to others and train them how to carry them out, the whole question of oversight has to play out next correctly. This endeavor can be tricky for those who have only ever worked alone and have to explore the concept of supervision for the first time. Some people have better managerial skills than others, but the role of supervising can be learned by anyone, providing that there are a few concrete base rules set out at the beginning. The first item to address is authority – how much do you keep, and how much do you give away? The truth is that someone will need to make decisions as a particular process is carried out, and there will likely need to be a fair amount of discretion given to the person to whom the task is being delegated.

Oversight needs to be just that – a high-level perspective that keeps tabs on what’s happening without becoming a suffocating presence for those doing the work. There’s nothing more destructive in the workplace than micromanagement: telling people they have the authority to make their own decisions and then breathing down their necks every five minutes. This error can also devolve into an even more destructive practice of undoing and redoing the work of your staff, not because of errors or inaccuracies, but simply because things aren’t being done precisely how you would have done them. There’s a healthy balance to be struck here since you, as the business owner, are ultimately accountable for the success of your daily operations, but give your team grace when it comes to the less-important aspects of individual approaches and creativity.

The real crux of the issue with delegating involves having the ability to look carefully at all of the tasks in your business and figuring out what fits where. The Eisenhower Matrix is an excellent tool for facilitating this, named for its developer, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. The matrix is a square consisting of four boxes, with the headings “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” at the top and the headings “Important” and “Not Important” at the side. This matrix is a straightforward way of identifying what items require your attention, as you can place anything into this matrix and correlate side and top headings to determine how you should proceed.

Anything under “Important/Urgent” is a time-sensitive and business-impacting item requiring immediate attention. If something fits in the “Important/Not Urgent” category, it’s likely still appropriate for your attention and effort but can be dealt with later. “Not Important/Urgent” denotes an item that doesn’t require immediate attention but needs to be taken care of in a timely manner. Items in this category are good candidates for delegating, as they are essential components of your operations that would be best entrusted to the efforts of your staff. Lastly, anything deemed “Not Important/Not Urgent” can confidently be eliminated, as it likely has no value to offer your business.

Being a business owner automatically implies a deep personal investiture in the components of that enterprise, but learning to relax your grasp is the key to allowing real growth to occur. Surround yourself with a team of talented, capable people, learn to entrust them with those things that best align with what they offer, and you’ll find that you now have the time and breathing room to pursue how to take your business even further.


Ready to master the art of delegating and propel your business to new heights? At ValorExcel, we specialize in helping entrepreneurs like you develop the skills needed to delegate effectively, streamline operations, and achieve sustainable growth. Contact ValorExcel to learn how we can help you build a thriving, balanced business. Visit our website at, to book your power hour session where you’ll meet with ValorExcel staff to get started. Or, call 240-329-9387 or email us at, ✨ Don't let burnout hold you back—reach out to us today and discover how our tailored programs can support your success. Also, don't forget to check our recent videos on YouTube by clicking HERE. #EntrepreneurSuccess #EffectiveDelegation #BusinessGrowth #TeamLeadership #DelegationSkills

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