"What's your biggest concern about taking this job?" is question we ask all applicants. My assistant Ron (on most days AKA "my Boss"), enjoys a hearty laugh when they reply, as they do often enough, "What if Anne really can't divest of this responsibility? Will she be second guessing me all the time?"
"Oh no worries," he assures them, "She's great at handing over things. She's fine with letting you run with it."
Now maybe it's because I've always been a crap micromanager, or maybe because there are nearly always so many things on my plate (the curse of being an "idea person") that I'm thrilled to offload anything I can.
But, really I think the answer lies in having had longstanding experience with cleaning ladies.
I worked as a cleaning lady myself through college. It was the job that paid for beer, pizzas and sometimes rent. The idea that I was a cleaning lady made my family scream with laughter because I'm anything but tidy. But, being a type A personality, I was very, methodically, good at it, even taking lessons in cleaning lady process management from a team who were the best in the business. (In fact, their employee handbook later directly inspired to my creation of all sorts of best practices handbooks for my own profession, the online publishing and marketing business -- and thus wound up being one of the most practically applicable parts of my college experience. Which in turn explains why you can get a degree in Religious History and end up with my career.)
Nevertheless, after graduation, I swore I would do my damnedest to make enough money to Never Clean Again.
Luckily, after a few years, I was able to achieve this goal. Which brings me to how cleaning ladies are an awfully useful tool to help you learn all about offloading responsibility as an company leader.
If you have a cleaning lady, you know what I mean.
It does not matter how you have decided to arrange the gew gaws on your shelves. Or where the little, red oriental rug should go. Or, even if the dog should be allowed inside the house during the daytime.
Your cleaning lady has very firm ideas on all of these matters. If you try to move things back, stick with the original plan, she will overrule you. She will continue with an iron will to overrule you until you give in. Inevitably things wind up the way she thinks they should be. Never matter that it is Your Home, in the eyes of the law at least.
After awhile, even if you live alone, you are not living in your house anymore. You are living in our house, and she is a decision-maker.
I can sell the house. I can paint the rooms another color entirely. But that little red oriental rug will, apparently, be placed in the entrance to the master bathroom, no matter how I feel about it. As it happens, I feel just fine.
There is a distinct pleasure in allowing other people take control, take ownership of the things that were originally under your domain. Allowing their life, their creativity, their purpose to join in with your own. Together, the outcome is different than what you would have done alone. It's not just that you spent less time, that you offloaded the work, it's also that the end result is slightly different from the original vision.
That's OK with me. That's alright. Ownership is more fun when it's shared. Which I guess means I'm not Steve Jobs, and never will be. There are many paths to being successful in business, and being crap at micromanagement may just be one of them after all.