Leadership: How to Solve Time Management and Delegation Issues

By Nathan Denny and Scott Axelrod

SESSION RECAP: Managing Chaos and Complexity (Time Management and Delegation). Time management and delegation are recurring issues for small-business executives. How can you grow a business while also learning to trust important Leadership: How to Solve Time Management and Delegation Issuestasks to your employees?


How do I get from being reactive to proactive and achieve clarity on my priorities?

Why It’s Important

Certain projects/priorities which should get this leader’s full attention have been put on the back burner, while others are getting half attention prematurely. Employees aren’t able to effectively take delegation, so the leader has had to adopt a hands-on approach.

“I want to be clear on what I’m doing on a daily basis … I want to feel energized by my effort and know that I’m accomplishing the right things.”

Estimated financial value: $10,000,000

Clarifying Questions

  • Why do you feel you can’t say “no” to someone?
  • How many employees and contractors do you have?
  • What is a non-critical item you might be doing, and what is an item you should be working on?
  • Who might you delegate a non-critical item to?
  • Is everything you do each day focused on the business?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Get comfortable with turning down opportunities and make space for what matters most.
  • Work out your partner issue by the end of the year
  • Clearly define your goals
  • Improve hiring practices
  • Stop multitasking; get organized
  • Utilize technology – voice technology, remote office, cloud computing


I am trying to find the balance between growing my business based on my personal reputation and building the reputation of the business itself. How do I separate my personal reputation from my business — how do I make the business valuable in and of itself, and not fully reliant on me personally?

Why It’s Important

This leader needs to delegate more and find a way to trust the team to do it right. “If I continue to try to do it all, I will stymie the business’s growth.”

This leader wants to create flexible systems and controls that help reassure him that the team is acting consistently with the company’s values and approach. And boundaries of a personal level are also needed to better protect his work/life balance.

This business was begun in August 2011 by the leader and one business partner. Today, they have two relatively junior employees and 20 clients.

Clarifying Questions

  • Are you on call all of the time for your clients?
  • Have you managed before? If so, how large was the team?
  • What’s your optimum client-to-employee ratio?
  • What percent of your time is crisis management?
  • What did you hire your employees to do, specifically? Can you give them more to do?
  • What would happen if your junior employees had your ear for 15 minutes — and just 15 minutes — at the start of each day?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Hire a senior person – if employees are unable to implement your philosophy/culture, get rid of them.
  • Figure out what you want to do, and hire others to do what you don’t want to do.
  • Hire a person who could manage the business if and when it’s sold.

Action Plan:

This executive has resolved to better define his role, as well as figuring out how to move up the time frame on a senior hire.
Session date: Aug 8, 2012
Originally published: Aug 14, 2012

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