When Not To Delegate In Your Business

Posted on Feb 24, 2020
By Kerry Anne Nelson
4 min read
small business scaling systems and processes
  1. Operation Verve
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You will always hear me singing the praises of the business owner that manages their business by delegating the right tasks. Effectively delegating means you clear the work off your desk, clear your headspace, create time, and grant the opportunity for growth.

In her 2005 book “Management Skills for New Managers” Carol Ellis describes the importance of effective delegation: “Managers who delegate effectively have direct reports that are more capable and enthusiastic because of the delegation experience. A good manager knows that delegation is the way to achieve results through others.”

small business scaling systems and processes

To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”  Doug Conant

Business leaders should be delegating, it’s not only how they grow, it’s but how they can scale their business, and ultimately, it’s the only way that they can sell their business. If you’re tied into all that work, you don’t own a business, you simply have a job.

Now, in saying all of that, there are some key times in your business management when it’s best to not delegate. In these instances, it is best to do it yourself for whatever reason. Here are five times that I’ve found that it’s best not to delegate.


The first one is when it’s a little one-off task, one that simply needs to be ticked off of our list.

In a business, there are lots of little tasks that you are probably never going to do again. It feels better just to take care of it yourself, rather than taking up precious time setting up systems around that task so you can pass it on. You want to make sure that any processes that you’re documenting to delegate work, are going to have a long-lasting impact.


The next reason that you should not be delegating, is if you love the work you’re doing. Now ultimately to build a business that you can scale or sell, you are going to have to let go of some of the work you love. Hold on to it when you can because if that’s the thing that rejuvenates you, and keeps you active and vibrant and alive in your business, it is worth holding on to. If you need to, clear some of the other stuff away, and keep that one on your desk.


The next time you should consider not delegating is when you haven’t set up adequate support for the team members that you’re delegating to. This is important to create autonomy and independence on the part of your team members. If they don’t have systems of support around them and you delegate those tasks, you’ll find that they’re left to perform a task that they can’t complete well or consistently, and it may cause confusion, frustration, and resentment.


Number four is when there’s no overall strategic plan, you’re probably best not to delegate the task to your team members. If you don’t have a plan about why you’ve chosen that job, what room will it create for you? What are you going to do with that extra room in your business? What is the role of that job in the employee’s day? Having a strategic plan is essential to have that delegation key to the long term growth of your business.


Finally, when the task is a leader’s only job, you should not be delegating it. In any business there are some things that only a business leader can do, delegation is not abdication. Knowing what tasks fall into this category is vitally important, and can also be a personal learning point. Embracing the leadership challenge in your business is vital for you to keep driving your business forward, achieve the mission and fulfil the vision that you’ve got set out.

Knowing when to, and when not to delegate, is just as important as effective delegation itself. Getting this right will keep your business growing and growing!

Kerry Anne Nelson

About Kerry Anne Nelson

Kerry Anne Nelson is the founder of Operation Verve and is a qualified first-class Honours graduate with more than 8 years of experience in education.

Kerry Anne Nelson is a workplace processes architect and uses her Lean Six Sigma training to maximise her years of experience in business management, education, and team leadership to help clients achieve lasting business growth.