How a Stressed Owner Let Go and Got Away



I know a business owner who rarely enjoyed time away from his business.

If he got away, he was constantly stressed and anxious about how it would turn out. It often didn't turn out well. 

Employees would call and email with questions. The owner would think, “They didn’t need to bother me with this! They could have figured out that one!” A huge pile of undone stuff awaited him when he returned. The business seemed to stall without him.

Sound familiar?

Why Business Leaders Can't Let Go

Most business leaders struggle with leaving the job behind -- even for just a few days. So much depends on them. So much can go wrong when they leave. So much is left undone for when they return.

But that changed earlier this year for the owner I know. Before the pandemic hit, he went away for a week and truly enjoyed his vacation -- without any of the headaches he used to experience.

What had changed?

Delegation, Instead of Dumping

Too often, business leaders walk away from their jobs and dump their work on those left behind. The result: chaos and confusion for both the dumpers and the dumpees.

Prior to this year’s vacation, though, the business owner prepared and delegated.

He communicated well in advance: “I’m leaving and here’s what needs to happen while I’m away.”

He assigned responsibility for tasks that would need attention, and he properly trained employees who would be responsible. No one was left wondering who was responsible for what.

The owner stressed that he trusted the team to handle things without him. He instilled confidence and a sense of ownership in his employees.

He clearly defined circumstances when it would be necessary to interrupt the vacation and contact him.

Delegation Leads to Process Improvement

When he got back, the owner debriefed with the team. They discussed what worked and how they could improve. They traded ideas. Employees were engaged and invested, eager to move forward as individuals and as a company.

As business leaders, we want to be relevant. We like to be needed. But we put our businesses at risk if the business cannot function without us.

When we abandon our post without properly delegating, we dump a mess on unprepared employees.

Your employees will step up if you let them.

Communicate in advance. Assign and train. Trust them. Instill confidence. Let them own it. Debrief and work together to improve.

Then plan your next vacation -- maybe a two-week journey next time.


Schedule a free 30-minute call with Cheryl who will help you figure out your ONE THING and avoid distractions.