Delegating the Right Way: Part 2 of 2

Cliff Ennico on

--Creating a family atmosphere in the workplace -- study after study shows that employees will tolerate below-average wages if they feel their contribution is valued and that they are part of a team.

--Treating your independent contractors with kindness and respect.

--Considering your key employees as potential successors when it comes time to retire (perhaps via a workers cooperative or employee stock ownership plan).

Delegating most of your responsibilities to others doesn't let you off the hook completely. The legal doctrine of "respondeat superior" (Latin for "the boss is responsible") means you are legally liable for your employees' mistakes. In the words of a former U.S. president, when you delegate, you must "Trust, but verify."

Here are four essential oversight rules:

--Be very clear about the limits of your delegates' authority.


--Stay on top of things, but don't micromanage.

--Insist that customer complaints be brought to your attention immediately -- when a customer is upset, that person should be seen by the boss.

--Never let a delegate get too close to a key client or relationship.

Ultimately, your business should be able to run smoothly and efficiently ... without you. The sooner you start delegating, the sooner you can think about retirement.

Cliff Ennico ( is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS television series "Money Hunt." This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our webpage at



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