October 7, 2020

5 Tasks a Leader Should Never Delegate

There are certain aspects of running a business that a leader must take on themselves.

As a leader, delegating is important for yourself and your company. Done right, delegating tasks to an assistant or other team member shows you trust the people you hired and allows you to focus on high-level, high-stakes work.

But there are some tasks that should be shouldered by you and never delegated. A leader must think of their work from a tactical and optical perspective. Some tasks signal to the company, clients, or investors that you’re engaged and that you care, while others require your input and wholehearted support.

We've identified 5 tasks that require the attention and direction of a leader.

1. Investor relations

Ensuring your company has a strong relationship with its investors is the responsibility of a leader—particularly if you are the CEO or founder. While handling the relations aspect may seem akin to scheduling (the most common delegated task), investor communication is about relationship building between investor and leader.

Delegating some of these small tasks might signal to your investors that your time is best spent elsewhere or that the business isn’t doing as well since you presumably can’t prioritize time for them.

2. Company mission, values, vision

A company’s mission, values, and vision are driven and championed by the leaders of the organization. They are developed by the founder with valuable input and insight from their team as a whole. While executive assistants or team members can run initiatives that celebrate or inform others on the company mission, values, and vision, a leader should never delegate these core, foundation tasks.

3. Nurturing and recognizing talent

Some may argue that nurturing and recognizing talent within an organization is everyone’s job—all team members should be responsible for uplighting their coworkers and surfacing growth or development opportunities. While this is true, a leader (whether C-Suite or mid-level manager, etc.) should never delegate nurturing and recognizing the talent of their direct reports. Praise that comes from someone other than you won’t have the same impact. In fact, outsourcing feedback shows your direct report that you don’t care or have time for them. The same is true for creating a growth plan for your direct report. If the vision doesn’t come from you, chances are you’ll leave people feeling unimportant or disengaged.

4. Sales calls

While most companies have a trained sales team, start-ups often rely on the founder to conduct sales calls. Passing off important sales meetings to assistants or non-sales focused employees is an incredible risk. You’re in a moment where your company’s brand is being built and new business hinges on a little bit of blind faith from a prospective client. A leader walking the client through the sales pitch adds a level of comfort to the client that can’t be replicated or delegated.

5. Crisis management

Every company has moments of high-intensity decision-making or crisis management like the first angry client or a seemingly simple HR issue. A leader is essentially put in charge to handle these moments and guide their workforce through it. Most employees would interpret the choice to delegate in moments of crisis as a failure of leadership—depleting any trust that’s been built.

Delegating tasks successfully doesn’t mean you’re passing off anything that is below your perceived pay grade. When choosing what’s appropriate to delegate, keep in mind optics, impact, and the long-term goals of your company.

Subscribe to our newsletter