5 Things that entrepreneurs or CXOs cannot delegate effectively

Copyright © 11/2023 ❘ The Enterneers®

Entrepreneurs and executives encountering inner blocks in recognising tasks that cannot be effectively delegated or lacking the necessary understanding, experience, and ultimately the joy of doing these tasks should consciously set aside time and motivation for their personal development and possibly consult external experts. Ignorance and overconfidence are not reliable advisors in this context.

Delegation is an important part of every manager's daily work and the ability to delegate effectively determines the development progress and performance of an organisation to a relevant degree. This also applies to individuals in top leadership positions of the organisation, where effective delegation becomes mandatory and determines the efficiency of corporate management. Nevertheless, there are certain aspects that individuals with overall entrepreneurial responsibility cannot delegate effectively. Knowing these issues and recognising the situations in which it is necessary to take responsibility for implementation personally is one of the key characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

For many entrepreneurs and executives who are relatively new to positions of overall responsibility, these issues often do not feel like real work, but rather something to be addressed on the side or in the evening. Those who find themselves in this situation may not really be working ‘on’ their company yet, but rather still in it. They probably still tend to micromanage too often. It has long been known and proven that truly effective executives spend a maximum of one-third of their total working time on operational or technical issues. They spend the rest of their time on the topics described below.


The larger and more complex the organisation, the more diverse the individual perspectives within the workforce, as well as the personal interests and talents. The strategic alignment of a company, the organisation, and, above all, the people working in it is an essential task of corporate management. The delegation of the leadership role in developing and anchoring the corporate philosophy and strategy is not effective. The same applies to defining and communicating the expectations that are placed on the company, whether internal or external. It is not uncommon for complete strategy processes to be outsourced to external consultants. The outcome often consists of glossy strategy slides with crisp definitions and modern statements, which are presented to the organisation and then filed away. In general, only the top management can ensure consistent operationalisation and authentic anchoring in the company and its decisions.


Effective empowerment requires a suitable understanding of roles and leadership. In practice, it has been shown that authoritarian and hierarchical leadership approaches often suffer from a lack of empowerment in the organisation. This is presumably because the executive focuses more on assigning and controlling tasks and processes and complying with specifications than on improving working conditions, and tools, and fostering knowledge. Effectively empowering an organisation and its workforce involves conscious engagement with feedback, listening, and recognising and specifically eliminating disruptions, obstacles, and limitations. This also includes how information is conveyed. Individuals who comprehend why they are performing certain tasks and how success is measured can identify with it more effectively and work towards it. Highly effective executives have developed a keen sense and need to localise relevant empowerment needs and address them with commitment. They realise that it is not the employees who are responsible for the condition and performance of their teams, but the executives. Empowerment also includes active talent management and structured communication. It is not the inherent capabilities of less gifted talents that prevent them from achieving the desired performance, but rather the individuals who utilise these talents. Empowerment may therefore involve personnel measures or addressing negative or inadequate communication.


Decision-making is a supreme discipline for all entrepreneurs and executives. Decisions should always be made where the best information and knowledge are available, and the level of responsibility associated with the decision is acceptable. Some decisions should be made at the top of the company, such as defining the company's strategy and planning, taking on unusual liabilities, or making personnel decisions at C-level. The first skill required for this is the ability to differentiate and make judgements. The second skill involves deriving the right priorities when handling decisions. The third skill is to make decisions based on suitable criteria and through an appropriate balancing process. Entrepreneurs and executives should either possess the three skills mentioned above or acquire them swiftly because the most unfavourable situation is that of not making decisions.


The topic of motivation is often not considered holistically by entrepreneurs and executives. It is obvious to associate motivation in terms of additional or special incentives, rewards, and benefits. In the real world of work, however, the power of a motivated and inspired organisation comes from the way the company is managed, the prevailing culture, and how meaningful the work is. It is the task of the top management to create conditions that foster motivation within the organisation. This starts with self-motivation. Those who want to inspire and motivate others must be sufficiently motivated themselves. Above all, they must authentically exemplify their own motivation. They must be motivated to provide others in their organisation with sufficient points of reference for identification and give them a sense of belonging. And they must be motivated to treat other people with respect and appreciation, despite their individuality, and to create space for them to develop their personal sovereignty and creative freedom. Just as self-motivation cannot be delegated to others, it is equally important that the leaders at the top of the company authentically exemplify a value-based and inspiring corporate culture themselves.


Cultivating a suitable corporate culture can and should involve the delegation of implementation of individual measures. However, when it comes to communicating values and exemplifying manners and behaviour, effectiveness stands and falls with the company's top management. Both the positive and negative effects of the thoughts and actions of company management have a much greater influence on the organisation than any other position or function can have in the long term. Entrepreneurs and executives must always be aware of this and lead by example.



As an entrepreneur or manager with entrepreneurial responsibility, do not try to delegate the above-mentioned issues to other people due to a lack of time, lack of attention, or lack of personal talent, hoping that they will deal with them successfully. Ultimately, you would be transferring your role and responsibility to others without giving them the necessary authority and competence. The result of such attempts is often frustration, disappointment, and loss of credibility on both sides and within the workforce. A CEO who has the HR manager and her management colleagues define the company's value system and introduce it into the company without personal involvement will hardly be able to credibly demonstrate wholehearted support and authentically exemplify the result and the decision of the other managers as the highest guiding figure. This undermines the value of the result from the outset and reduces its acceptance within the company.

Entrepreneurs and executives encountering inner blocks in recognising tasks that cannot be effectively delegated or lacking the necessary understanding, experience, and ultimately the joy of doing so should consciously set aside time and motivation for their personal development and possibly consult external experts. Ignorance and overconfidence are not reliable advisors in this context.


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