Delegation is the practice of turning over work-related tasks and/or authority to employees or subordinates. Small business owners often have difficulty with delegation for a variety of reasons, from concerns about the abilities of subordinates to long-standing "hands-on" management habits (a common characteristic of successful entrepreneurs). Indeed, "businesses founded on the creative talents of the owner often struggle with [delegation] because the success of the enterprise depends on the owner's style," wrote Linda Formichelli in Nation's Business. But small business consultants warn that owners that do not learn to delegate responsibilities and tasks often end up stunting their company's growth.
THE NEED FOR EFFECTIVE DELEGATION PRACTICES "Many managers think of delegation as a task—an activity to be carried out and forgotten. In reality, delegation is a process that makes up a critical component of successful management," wrote Janet Houser Carter in Supervisory Management. "To get work done with and through others, a manager must regularly give authority to his or her staffers. This shows staffers that the manager has faith in their abilities—which is what makes delegation such a powerful motivational tool."
A propensity for micromanagement—or nanomanagement, as it is sometimes called when applied to a small business firm—can have a deleterious impact on a company in a variety of ways. Moreover, many analysts contend that a lack of delegation can be particularly detrimental to the fortunes of smaller businesses. "In small, entrepreneurial companies, micromanagement by one person—typically the owner—can be especially growth-inhibiting because it can have a proportionately larger sweep through the firm than micro-management by one executive in a large company," wrote Formichelli. Business consultants thus counsel their clients to practice sensible delegation of tasks to their employees—even in instances where they might not do as good a job