Let’s get real. You’re a bottleneck. Every time you do something yourself that someone else could be doing just because you want ‘to do it right’, you’re a bottleneck. You’re preventing your employee from learning so that you can delegate it to him or her in the future. You’re giving yourself more to do, and you’re robbing yourself of the time you could be using for higher level strategy.  You’re robbing your employees of their own sense of mastery which is a source of internal motivation. Then you wonder why they’re not motivated.

So why do you do that?

  • Control, you want control. You want it done right and you don’t trust anyone else to do it the way you want it done.
  • Time, you don’t have time to teach it to someone else.


I’ve heard all these excuses. They’re only keeping you small. They’re keeping you boxed inside the daily scramble feeling overwhelmed and stressed. This task or capability will never be delegated to someone else if you don’t start training someone now. Your time will never free up. You’ll continue as the bottleneck and your company’s growth will be stunted. This is out-and-out self sabotage.

The real reasons:

  • Stuck in the habit
  • Short term thinking
  • Makes you feel important (that you and your skills can’t be replaced or duplicated)

I see it with many founders. They get stuck in Leadership Level 1: Being Founder-centric. They haven’t yet evolved to Leadership Level 2: Being Team-centric.

Here’s a thought: What if someone on your staff learns how to do something better than you? They weren’t born yesterday. They bring their own talents and experience. Maybe they’ll give it a different twist which might yield even greater success.

  1. What can you do? How can you mature into Leadership Level 2? For everything you do, ask yourself, “Is this something I can delegate?” To whom? Is this person in my organization yet? Who can I train to do this? Write down notes. Build a delegator’s mindset even if you can’t delegate it yet because you don’t yet have the right person.
  2. Start training people. They’ll never get good at it if you don’t get them started and let them make some mistakes. Maybe they’ll make the wrong decision. That’s a teaching moment. Encourage them to stretch. Everyone likes a challenge. They’ll be more engaged and productive.
  3. Can you write down the steps so the process is repeatable? Better yet, get your employee to write down the steps as he or she gets trained.  Build up a slew of repeatable processes (eventually you’ll call it an operations manual). There are some side benefits also. If your processes are documented, it’s much easier to ramp up a new employee, you can open a new location more easily, and your business is worth more to a buyer. Now that’s Leadership Level 2 thinking.

Action! Action!

If you’re ready to conquer the challenge of being the bottleneck, I encourage you to start now. You can implement these three actions on your own. Or, you can contact me and we’ll do it faster and more reliably together.

Jeri Quinn

Jeri Quinn from Driving Improved Results is an executive coach, management consultant, speaker and author who focuses on communication in her work with executives and companies. She is the author of The Customer Loyalty Playbook, 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in Your Business. With more than 40 years as a serial entrepreneur.

Quinn has worked with executives and teams in over 40 industries, spoken at major business expos including New York City’s Javits Center, facilitated business development and extraordinary customer service at institutions such as MoMA and AIG, and has partnered with New York City, The Kauffman Foundation, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, and Signature Bank to educate their clients.


She can be reached at:

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