The most important skill of an employee of a startup or any small company, in my opinion, is an ability to resolve problems instead of just executing tasks. Let me illustrate this with an example.
Let us consider a problem. It doesn’t matter whether it is from IT, Management, Accounting, or Operations. Usually, problems arise at the C-level. Of course, some problems should be resolved directly by the CEO, CTO, CFO, etc. However, some of them do not require extra skills and hence, could be delegated.
So, when is it worthwhile for a CEO to delegate? This occurs when the CEO can be sure that the time and resources she will spend on the delegation process and assessing the results, including all related activities, are less than in the case of not delegating. Of course, if we are talking about a repetitive scenario, this should be taken into account.
If the CEO deals with a person who can only execute tasks, the CEO has to perform some actions in advance: outline the task, discuss the strategy or algorithm with the executor, and define the expectations. Time is also required for assessing the results because even if the expectations are set, it does not mean that the actual result will meet them. Also, the CEO will have to periodically check the process of execution in case something unexpected happens.
The above workflow is really time consuming for a CEO. Often, the management of an executor and definition of a task requires more time than executing it oneself.
Therefore, having an employee who can deal with the original problem without the necessity of performing all of the steps outlined above is incredibly valuable.