Learning to Delegate

Often when I'm interviewed about the magazine, I'm asked what I've learned since starting it in 2015.  I've learned a lot about running my own business in the last couple of years but one unexpected thing I learned: how to delegate and actually be a boss.

Of all the things I've wanted to be in my life, a boss was never one of them.  I'm uncomfortable being the one in charge of others, of telling them what to do, of being the one responsible for each decision.  And though that feeling hasn't changed, it's something I've learned to adjust to.

I think it all starts with finding that perfect team.  I have talked about my team to anyone who would listen because they are so phenomenal.  And one of the things that makes them that way is being willing to work hard and get their tasks done with little input from me.  Though it has taken awhile for me to get comfortable enough to hand over the reigns, now that I have, it has taken so much stress and pressure off my shoulders.  

When I first started searching for people to help me on this team, I was really just looking for social media help and that's what I had.  But as time went on and Mia and Jess (in particular) got more comfortable on the team, I increased their responsibilities to the point that they often have to remind me that we have things coming up, or to follow up with me to make sure things are on track.  

In learning to delegate, these are a few tips that I've found to be helpful:

  1. Be clear.  Let your team know what you want, what you expect, and how you expect it to be done.  We now have an onboarding process for anyone new that joins our team which outlines our communication expectations, responsibilities, and more.  This has helped people understand the team right off the bat when they join us.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask.  I still have a problem with this, but when you are feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask a team member to help you out or take on a task to get it off your plate.  More often than not, they'll be happy to help.  And if they aren't, then maybe they aren't really a team player.
  3. Let go of the control.  This one will take awhile.  Your business is your baby and you want things done a certain way.  But at some point, you have to loosen your grip if you want to be able to trust your team and to focus your efforts elsewhere.  Though I always loved being in contact with our contributors, it took away my time from doing other things, so now Mia takes care of that and does an amazing job (probably better than I ever did).  She also completely schedules the blog - I don't even see the posts until they're actually live.  Madisen sets up every single blog post.  I just let her know how I like them to look and she takes it from there.  Jess has our official Facebook page completely covered - I have no idea what she'll be posting on a day to day basis and I see it when everyone else does.  Letting go of these types of tasks has freed up so much of my time that I'm able to devote to other things and that allow me to breathe a little easier.
  4. Trust your team.  You brought your team on board for a reason and if you're ever going to be able to grow, you have to allow them to help you and trust that you have been clear enough that they'll know how things should go.  And if you're lucky, at some point they'll feel that your business is as much a part of them as you do.  And that's an awesome feeling.