Virtual News (En)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


As a boss/manager/owner, yes, it probably is quicker to do it yourself. Sadly, the challenge is that as long as you think that way, you’ll always have to do it yourself!

If you want to have a successful team/department/business (and a life), then doing everything yourself will have some predictable outcomes:

  • In the long term, it will affect your health
  • It could affect your marriage (or significant relationship)
  • It prevents other people learning and growing
  • It sends the message that you don’t trust anyone
  • It says to your staff that they will never be as smart as you
  • People will eventually leave and go elsewhere. Possibly even moving to your competitor and, horror of horrors, maybe taking some of your best clients with them!

It is my aim to free up the time of owners/managers by a minimum of 30%. To show them how to hand over a whole host of routine day-to-day ‘stuff’, so they can work ON their business and not IN it. However, in order to gain that 30%, they need to be willing to delegate! Simple not necessarily easy. Most owners and managers are terrified of delegating because they’re terrified people will make mistakes. And people probably will make mistakes. But how did you the manager/owner learn? By making lots of mistakes!

Not delegating is what I call a but. Buts are fears; and the only way to overcome a fear, is to discover a WIIFM – what’s in this for me? Think about that. What could you be doing differently if you had 30% of your time free of operational problems? Do you think your bottom line might significantly improve if you were:

  • Out in the market-place talking to key clients?
  • Working on finding new clients and/or markets?
  • Brainstorming ideas for new products and services?
  • Talking to other business owners about possible alliances or synergies?

A better use of your time? Absolutely. So where do you start?

You start by:

Making a list of all the jobs that bore you out of your brain
Costing out each of those jobs (is this a $15 an hour job – a $25 an hour job or a $50 an hour job?)

You then:

Ask which of your team members would like to put their name by which job
And then you create a plan of action. Easiest jobs first.
Then they watch you do the job, you watch them do the job, they then take over the job with you standing in the wings if they need you!

It’s that simple. As a manager/owner you should not be doing the $15 an hour jobs! Never, never, never.

One small point - please don’t confuse delegation with abdication. You must be willing to support them through the learning process; to coach, guide and mentor. Then when the first task is safely handed over (and don’t be surprised if the person ends up doing the job better than you ever did) you are ready to hand over one more task to one more valued employee; and so on until you have your 30%. Then as an owner/manager/team leader, you will be working where you need to be working, on the strategic issues of your business.

It’s as simple as that.

Yes it will take time – sometimes we have to take small steps backwards to gain a giant leaps forward. Just keep remembering your wiifm - 30% of your time spent more effectively. Be prepared to be very surprised at the results. You will live longer, be happier, stay married longer and as if that wasn’t enough, your bottom line results should have similarly grown by a corresponding 30%!

Trust in your people – in my experience, they will never let you down.

About the Author
Ann Andrews CSP is the author of three books, Shift Your But, Finding the Square Root of a Banana and Did I Really Employ You?

She is also a professional speaker, consultant on human resource issues, and founder of the Teams From Woe To Go franchise.

The above article is one of a series which will take employees and managers through a 6 step process of learning how to seriously improve bottom line results by communicating more effectively with each other. Ann can be contacted at, or visit her website


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