INSTANT MBA: The Three Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Delegating

Dr. Jeff Cornwall
Dr. Cornwall writes daily about entrepreneurship at

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Today’s advice comes from Dr. Jeff Cornwall, director of Belmont University centre for Entrepreneurship, via The Tennessean: “Every business owner eventually hears the same advice. If you want your business to grow, you must learn to delegate.”

The first mistake: being hesitant to delegate.

Cornwall says that some entrepreneurs feel that no one can do what they do as well as they can, mainly because employees don’t seem to care as much as the entrepreneur does.

“To overcome this hesitancy to delegate, entrepreneurs should remind themselves that sometimes ‘good enough is good enough.'”

The second mistake: rushed delegation.

The opposite but equally disruptive mistake is to delegate without providing proper training and without giving clear expectations for performance. Assigning tasks to the wrong person or multiple people simultaneously can lead to chaos and confusion.

“To overcome rushed delegation, develop a clear and detailed plan that includes what needs to be delegated, whom should be assigned the task and what needs to be done to prepare employees for their new responsibilities.”

The third mistake: undermining the delegation process.

Once responsibilities have been delegated, employees still tend to want to ask the entrepreneur to give them an answer or make a decision instead of the person now assigned to that area. If the entrepreneur does the job for the person now in charge, it completely undermines the process of delegation.

“I developed my ‘seven-second delay’ to avoid this mistake. When I was asked for an answer or a decision I would always pause for a few moments to ask myself, ‘Is this still my responsibility or have I delegated this to someone else?'”

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