This article by Daphne Young is the third in a new four-part series from PPC and the Painting Contractors Association (PCA) designed to help you understand and prepare for the challenges of business growth.
Part of being a business owner is knowing how to properly and effectively delegate tasks to employees. Although it may seem simple, assigning these tasks requires timely preparation and continuous follow-up to ensure the success of your workers and your overall business.
Jason Paris, Partnership Development Chair at Aleph Holdings and PCA board member, and Alex Calouf, COO at Aleph Holdings, have both shared a wealth of knowledge about the art of delegation. The pair express struggles they have faced and tactics they’ve perfected when it comes to honing their efforts to position their team for success.
How Aleph Holdings has empowered its team
Because business owners shouldn’t jump directly into assigning tasks, Jason Paris emphasizes the significance of taking the appropriate steps before delegation to ensure you properly prepare your employees and set them up for greatness.
“The best way to empower someone is to give very high direction on their role/task,” he says. “It’s crucial to give them a lot of coaching followed by support to acknowledge that humans are not self-directed and we all occasionally need some guidance. After coaching and support, you would, technically, go to delegation – though no one stays in delegation forever. They typically drift back into support and may go back into needing coaching or direction depending on life’s circumstances.”
Although doing a task yourself would be more simple from a business owner’s perspective, you must spend the time and attention on these specific efforts because you are now training someone to become competent, gain confidence and overall feel more empowered to triumph.
Pain points encountered along the way
Given that each employee is unique, delegation involves a decent amount of trial and error and will likely not be mastered by business owners from the get-go. Paris has experience dealing with some of the frequent problems that arise with delegating responsibilities.
“One obvious pain point was I told my worker exactly what to do and then I went straight to delegation,” Paris says. “That was paint point No. 1. I skipped the steps of coaching and support, and it just didn’t work,” said Paris.
Moving too quickly to delegate is a typical leadership error. To entrust your workers with greater responsibilities, they must have faith in your ability to provide them with the high-level guidance, appropriate coaching and support they need to complete the task successfully.
Supporting and encouraging a sense of control
There’s a lot of variation in how to delegate and mentor an individual because different people have different tactics and skills. To do this as effectively as possible, Alex Calouf shares the importance of communicating with your team, starting with the interview process and onward.
“Every quarter, we meet with each person to check on how they feel they are tracking and how else we can support them,” he says. “This has created a strong bond/coaching relationship and helps them know we truly care. If we’re off track, it gives us a chance to realign and get back on the right track together.”
From a cultural standpoint, Aleph Holdings is strongly committed to everyone having the self-employed mindset: “I am in control of the outcome of my career.”
Through culture, some compensation plans, and a degree of independence, you can enable others to feel that sense of control.
Further advice to contractors
Paris and Calouf both hope to share their expertise and tactics with other business owners in the painting industry to educate them on the art of delegation so they can be set up for success in the future, or improve their current efforts.
“We care a lot about our people’s needs, wants, motives, and how they get energy,” Calouf says. “As we engage with each person, we try to be as intentional as possible to help them document their goals and personal values, and create a plan for growth. This gives us the ability to support them and find the right seat that will fit both their needs and the company’s needs.”
Calouf says that the reality in leadership is that leaders are there to serve, and that takes work with teams. For delegation to work and be used to its fullest potential, a business owner must not only devote a lot of time to the procedures before and after delegation, but more importantly be as intentional as possible with each employee to build trust.
Daphne Young is a marketing intern with the Painting Contractors Association (PCA), a trade organization dedicated to the success of painting contractors by maintaining industry standards, providing best in-class education, and building a community of like-minded peers. Visit PCApainted.org for more resources designed by painters, for painters.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of PPC magazine. ©2022 Northbrook Publishing.