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Delegation: the key to business growth and expansion

April 6, 2022

Despite being a vital management skill to build successful teams, only one in four employer entrepreneurs — business leaders who are founders of a company with at least one employee — have high levels of “Delegator talent”. 

A study by the polling company Gallup of 1,446 business people in the United States found that three-quarters of the respondents had limited levels of talent to delegate. Gallup points out delegating as one of the 10 talents of successful entrepreneurs. 

Gallup has also looked among the talent profiles of 143 CEOs included in the Inc 500 list and found that those who delegated generated 33% more annual revenue than those who did not delegate. And 20% of employer entrepreneurs with high Delegator talent said they planned to increase their employee base by 5% or more, compared with 14% of entrepreneurs with lower or limited Delegator talent.

“The ability to delegate effectively is a fundamental managerial trait of successful entrepreneurs. Founders who are naturally effective Delegators are great managers and supportive bosses”, says the publishing.

But why is it so difficult to put into practice? The associate director of marketing and communications for Harvard Business School Online, Lauren Landry, listed some reasons:

  • Think it would take longer to explain the task than actually completing it themselves
  • Want to feel indispensable to their team by being the keeper of specific knowledge
  • Enjoy completing certain projects so prefer not to reassign them
  • Feel guilty about adding more work onto another employee’s to-do list
  • Lack confidence or trust in who they need to transfer the project to
  • Believe that they’re the only ones who can do the job right

To help overcome that, Gallup’s survey identified 6 key differences between leaders with high Delegator talent:

  • Delegators know that they can’t accomplish everything themselves. 
  • Delegators develop team capacity using a strengths-based approach. 
  • Delegators ensure that employees have everything they need to do their jobs. 
  • Delegators focus on outcomes, not processes. 
  • Delegators encourage new ideas and approaches to accomplish goals. 
  • Delegators communicate frequently with employees. 

Source: Gallup | HBS