The Art of Delegation
By: Contributor Sarah Spitsen CEO of Feya Candle Co
I've been a solopreneur for about 10 years. Always prided myself on reciting my dad's old mantra of “if you want it done right, do it yourself”.
However, my business grew over the years, but not at the rate I would’ve wanted it to.
Fast forward to 8 years in business, I have a few employees, we're on the brink of a growth spurt and my husband and I realized that I was pregnant. I went into a panic at the thought of taking maternity leave - this surely means that if I have to embark on one; I'll go out of business. So, to cure this complete work panic, I started working with a business coach with one goal in mind: in 9 months, delegate all tasks in the company.
I succeeded in this goal, and my one fear of becoming obsolete in my own company was completely squashed when I came to the realization that when I step out of my company, I get to truly work on the vision. No more creating the company but taking 90% of my time to do the tasks, I now get to run the company I've always wanted. We’ve grown exponentially and my employees are staying longer and are more dedicated than any employees I've ever had.
When learning what roles to delegate
Take one step at a time. When you're the 'everything' for your company it can seem overwhelming to delegate, however when you identify your employee strengths and one by one assign them tasks within their achievement zone; it will start to become a routine rather than a daunting task.
If I'm delegating a lot, I take one major 'part' of my job at a time, break it down on paper and over a week to two weeks, slowly start to train my employees on each task one by one to ensure I don't load too much on them (or me) at once. This also allows time, if the employee is not suited for the task, to move it to someone else.
Lastly, the best way to know WHAT to delegate! The moment I feel either overwhelmed by my job, or I’m embarrassed with how many tasks I didn't get done within a period of time, I know I need to delegate. I look for the tasks I'm not completing to the best of my ability and I delegate at least half of them. If in a few weeks time I'm still not getting the remainder of the tasks done, those will have to be delegated too.
Choosing the right team member for the task
I mandate all employees to take an enneagram test when they come into the company (there are also SAFETY tests, DISC assessments, Gallup strengths finders etc), this makes it possible for me to know them beyond the interview stage where everyone puts their 'best foot forward'. I further understand how they communicate, how they are motivated, and how they react to situations, this knowledge has been essential to finding what tasks fit them best.
My team also operates remotely around the USA, so I keep weekly catch up calls with each one - always with their Enneagram results in front of me.
This constant communication and accountability allows me to talk through everything I've delegated to them and ensure things are being handled the right way.
Lastly, I usually ask my employees what they “want” to do! I firmly believe in hiring individuals smarter and better than you so when they come into the company, they first get to pick their own job title (another great way to better understand how they see themselves and operate), then they get to tell me what their ideal work day would look like. Although, I can't promise their perfect work day every day, this question gives me an insight on what they're motivated to do, and what they'd truly put their heart into. I try to assign them more tasks in their passion, than not, so overall they're motivated to have a great work day, every day.
Chief Candle Lady & Food Giver
Feya Candle Co