Is There Too Much to Do or Are You Not Delegating Enough?

Business owners who try to do it all themselves usually don't get it all done.

learn more about S. Chris Edmonds

By S. Chris Edmonds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The holidays are upon us. These are frenetic days for many - shopping for gifts, hosting and attending parties, battling for parking spaces in crowded malls, and more.

These fun activities are on top of your regular activities at home and work!

Small business owners tell me they spend 60-80 hours a week on the job. The holidays require even greater time commitments.

There are longer work hours, demanding customers, seasonal employees that need training and mentoring, faster cycling of products and services - it's exhausting.

Related: Tips for Ringing in Sales This Holiday Shopping Season

And, it's important to be fully present during these hectic times. Many businesses, especially retail, earn 30 percent or more of their annual revenues between late November and late December.

It's important for small business owners to be fully present during these opportunities - able to respond to staff or customer needs promptly and gracefully, in the moment. That's hard to do when there is so much to do!

There is, however, a rich, untapped resource that can help small business owners be engaged with their people as well as ensure the right things get done the right way. That untapped resource is your talented, engaged employees.

These folks have been with you a long time. They have great skills, work with team members well and serve customers effectively. They know your business and probably even love your business.

They could take some of the workload off your plate. They are willing and able. It makes sense to allow them the space to act on your behalf.

A recent NFL game offers an example. The Denver Broncos ran a fake punt in their game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The risky run play gained 13 yards and a first down. The Broncos scored a field goal eleven plays later.

When asked about the risky call in the post-game press conference, coach John Fox said the coaches didn't make the call. Safety and special teams captain David Bruton Jr. made the call, on his own, in the moment. Fox said, "We trust him enough to add that responsibility. He chose wisely."

Related: Why Business Owners Have a Hard Time Delegating

Why do small business owners hesitate to delegate authority and responsibility to talented, engaged staff? They may have been burned in the past - and don't want to be taken advantage of again. They may feel that it's unfair to ask team members to take on more than they typically do.

It's also likely that small business owners may not know how to effectively delegate authority and responsibility.

Start by delegating responsibility for a specific task or project. Outline the results you want, then ask them to manage the process. Inquire about their plan and offer help if needed. Stay in touch as the work progresses.

By enabling trusted players to act, you multiply your hands. More of the right work gets done the right way.

Should you delegate responsibility to learners? That's probably not going to turn out well. If they don't have the skills needed to make good decisions, the results won't please them - or you.

What if you don't have talented, engaged staff to delegate to? Start small, and start now. Build bench strength so your next holiday season is much different - less stressful, with greater performance, and deeper employee engagement.

Even when you delegate effectively, you may still choose to spend long hours in your business during the holidays. At least you won't have to "do everything"!

Give talented, engaged team members a hand in your business. Their engagement will deepen and your business success will improve.

Related: 3 Team-Building Activities That Can Build Trust

S. Chris Edmonds

CEO and Founder, The Purposeful Culture Group

S. Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of the Purposeful Culture Group and a senior consultant with @KenBlanchard. He is a speaker and executive consultant. Edmonds has written six books and two ChangeThis manifestos. His latest book, The Culture Engine, aims to help leaders create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Join Edmonds for his Culture Leadership Roundtable, a one-morning-a-month series from March to September, in Denver, Colorado.

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