There’s so much hype around Glastonbury this weekend I’m tempted to tell you the story of the time I saw the Rolling Stones at Knebworth in 1976. I say “saw them” I actually slept through most of their set. There’s not many people who can say they’ve slept through a Rolling Stones concert.
Actually Glasto reminds me that I’m off on my holidays in August. I’m going to the lovely little Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons. We couldn’t afford tickets for a festival this year so we’ll be volunteer stewards in return for a free ticket.
I’m also having a bit of a holiday next week. I’m not going away, but I am having a week off from blogging. It’s a sort of dry run for my real holiday. This hasn’t been easy to achieve and that’s mostly my fault.
You may have noticed that I’ve taken something of a leadership role on South Leeds Life. I keep an eye on the flow of posts (articles) coming through, I watch the email account and few other things. Someone called me the Editor the other week, perhaps I am.
I don’t think that I’m self-centred generally, but I do have a tendency to think I’m indispensable. It’s nonsense of course, none of us are. If anyone else said it I would say “and what if you fall under a bus next week?” I’ve found myself having to say that to myself this week.
It wasn’t my choice to take a break, I was following orders from my Other Half. She’s a very sensible woman, I generally follow her orders, I mean her advice.
But why the pressure in the first place? Well we’ve built a rather successful little hyperlocal news blog in South Leeds Life, if we do say so ourselves. If you visited our stand at Belle Isle Gala or Beeston Festival you will have seen our statistics – in two and a half years we’ve built up to over 20,000 page views per month. We’ve achieved that level of readership by making sure there are new posts on the blog every day. Five, six, sometimes seven days a week.
I don’t know about the rest of the gang, but I’m terrified to take my foot off the gas.
So how will South Leeds Life cope without me? Of course it’s very simple and I’m sure some of you are ahead of me. It’s called “delegation”, giving out the tasks to others. We’ve emailed around the group of contributors and people have stepped up offering to cover certain events or to look after the emails, or whatever.
It’s been really heartening to see that other people care about the blog as much as I do. I know that sounds really patronising, but I think I’ve just been too engrossed to see the big picture.
I’m actually really excited about what’s happened because it points to a very sustainable future for South Leeds Life. It means we can start planning a bit more. Identifying the stories we want to cover and then dish out the assignments. Build up the What’s On section, maybe start some proper local sports coverage.
Without wishing to sound like a management seminar, delegation, done properly, is a win-win. The delegator wins by freeing up time to do new things, whilst the delegatee gets to do a new job, gets some responsibility, maybe learn a new skill. It builds the strength of the organisation.
I’ve always found delegation a difficult skill to master. If I do something myself I know it will be done a certain way and to a certain standard. Other people will do it differently and I have to remind myself that that’s OK, it may even be better than the way I do it!
The next problem is that there’s just so much to do. How can I possibly ask someone else to do all these things? It’s just unreasonable to ask them. Unless you break things down into smaller tasks.
Another reason I’ve relied on to avoid delegating is that it’s quicker to do it myself than explain how to do it to someone else. On this issue blogging’s pressure has made things easier. These are essentially repetitive tasks and if they’re not done now, there’s little point in doing them next week when I’m back.
Take Twitter– it’s instantaneous and disposable. We tweet links to all our posts on the blog, join South Leeds conversations and retweet interesting South Leeds information. When it’s gone, it’s gone. As the Rolling Stones sang “who reads yesterdays papers?”
I’ll be back in a fortnight with more of my views from South of the River. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me: @BeestonJeremy.