Does Delegation make you loose control?

The studies show that over 67% of manager want to delegate, BUT the challenge with delegation is control. I see this more in smaller companies that large companies where the CEO dos t want to loose control as the company grows. There is a lot riding on those tasks. You cant afford to loose a client, miss out on a bid, or fail to provide excellent customer service. But you can’t do it al either. Control issues are a function of perfectionism.

Research tells us that we have 60K thoughts a day and only 5% are new. People who have trouble delegating often think the following thoughts in their head (over and over):

  • no one can do it as well as I can
  • they won’t meet the quality I am looking for
  • they don’t have the experience
  • it requires me
  • i don’t have the resources
  • I have the time
  • it is faster for me to do than to teach them

All these are just excuses to justify to yourself why you should remain in control. I am not pointing any fingers because for every finger you point to someone else two come back to you. I notice this in myself all too often too and have to adjust my thinking.

What about all the great reasons they should relinquish control, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. 

  • by automating/standardizing the task you increase consistency of quality 
  • someone else can do it for less and save you money
  • there is a higher and better use of your time
  • someone else may bring more creativity to the work and do it better
  • when you are overloaded you are open to more mistakes
  • too much on your plate usually results in delays in work
  • reduces your potential and capacity to grow the business
  • compromising team performance- reduction in team ownership and trust


Delegation challengeI have a client, CEO of an IT company, who had the queries from their website forwarded to his email because of his vast technical skills. Clearly, he could answer the questions better than anyone about the system challenges they are having and any technical questions they might have about integration. No matter if it was an ad-hoc enquiry, pre-sales or customer service he was on it.

When he came to me, he was upset he wasn’t growing his business. That is how we saw the challenge of where he was spending his time. We created a log for one week for him to write down in detail the tasks and how much time he was working on each of those tasks. It was no surprise that 70% of his time was spent answering emails. 

In order for him to feel like his customer service was top notch and that people were getting the answers they needed to do the following:

Here is what he did to let go of the control. He:

  1. calculated his hourly rate to show how his time is better used towards growing the business
  2. stopped forwarding mails to his in box (he couldn’t help himself but read and respond)
  3. created a series of FAQ that could be placed on the website to reduce the number of initial emails
  4. measured objective through a dashboard with Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  5. checked in with staff at regular to help with any open issues
  6. videoed training and standards so basic training could be delivered without him
  7. focused efforts on systemization, creating leverage and business strategies that will help grow his company.

When we create processes and standards it allows the boss or skilled team members to delegate with assurance that the job will be done to the standard and quality expected. Checklists and other support tools help to ensure that the process is followed. The situation is in control but you don’t have to control it personally.

When business owners and departments heads actually calculate the value of their time they realize where their time is best spent. Unless you look at it that way, it often goes unnoticed. Also, the cost isn’t just what your salary is but what your value is to the business of what you could be generating in income. This was a huge eye opener for one client whose time was worth almost $500’000. He quickly created some process and standards to allow others to take certain tasks from him. He gained back 25% of his time to work on the most critical elements of big deals and let others handle the non-essential parts that after further inspection could actually be done by others.

The best time management tips are around how owners and skills managers can delegate and create the kind of leverage that allows a company to increase their profits by multiples. 
Penny Zenker is a strategic business coach and trainer, boosting productivity for business leaders and entrepreneurs. She leverages her personal experiences of building up and later selling a multi-million dollar business, as a senior executive at one of the worlds largest market research companies and working with business leaders all over the world as a Tony Robbins Business Coach. Penny proven and practical approach help people to get results quickly.


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