Is your to-do list a mile long? Do you spend your day in meetings and bring your work home with you because there aren't enough hours in the workday? Do you feel as though the weight of the entire company is resting on your shoulders?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you might need a refresher course on delegating.

As an entrepreneur, delegating can be hard--sometimes even downright painful. You built your business from the ground up, and your unique vision is apparent in everything from the website copy to the employee handbook. Giving up responsibility means giving up control, but it can also mean helping your business meet its goals faster and helping you build a stronger team.

If You Aren't Delegating, You Aren't Running an Effective Business

No matter how involved you like to be in the day-to-day operations of your business, you can't expect to handle everything by yourself. Here are a few reasons why learning to delegate effectively is an essential aspect of running an effective business:

  • You're not a pro at everything. As your company grows and you hire employees to do specific jobs, you'll soon realize that there are people who are better qualified to handle things like PR, accounting, website maintenance, graphic design, and customer service than you are.
  • Delegation builds a stronger team. Delegating key tasks allows other team members to contribute their strengths and talents. When every team member feels invested in the business and can contribute, it takes some of the pressure off you and makes your company stronger.
  • Creativity thrives in a team environment. Harnessing the diverse experiences and insights of your team gives you a much greater advantage than you'd have by solving a problem all by yourself. Brainstorming as a team can help you come up with powerful ideas, insights, and solutions you'd never have thought of on your own that may save time and money.
  • Delegation increases productivity. If you stick to what you're good at and let others handle the rest, you'll be surprised by how much more productive you and your company will be. Likewise, allowing others on your team to perform tasks that align with their strengths will motivate them to work harder and deliver more in less time.
  • The delegator is perceived as being more powerful. Many leaders fear that giving up duties and responsibilities will make them seem weak, but running a workplace effectively is a sign of a great leader. No one is great at everything; a team is only as strong as its individual members' ability to pull together to achieve a shared vision.

4 Steps to Becoming an Effective Delegator

Delegation doesn't come naturally to everyone--especially workaholic entrepreneurs--but there are a few simple steps that can help you delegate like a pro:

  1. Recognize your strengths. Tackle the things you love or do very well yourself, and delegate the duties that slow down your productivity or otherwise aren't a good use of your talents and time.
  1. Acknowledge and reward others for their strengths. If you want your team to be as strong as possible, you must allow others to assume duties that will spur greater professional development. Don't just think of delegating as a way to decrease your workload; recognize that it allows you to acknowledge and celebrate other team members' strengths.
  1. Build a trustworthy team. The No. 1 reason entrepreneurs resist delegating responsibilities to others is a lack of trust, but if you emphasize honesty and trustworthiness from the beginning--even during the hiring process--you can build a team that you're confident in delegating to. If you further reward transparency and open communication, others will step up and align with these ideals.
  1. Tap into your network. Creating partnerships and alliances outside the company is a great way to solve problems that are beyond your team's scope of expertise. You might hire an external social media strategist or consult with another business leader to get fresh ideas.

Freeing up your time won't just make you more productive; it will also help maximize the skills and strengths of everyone on your team--including you. When you focus on doing what you do best and delegate everything else, you become a more effective leader and help grow your team's skill set. While handing over responsibilities can be difficult, it will make your organization much stronger and far more efficient and productive in the long run.