How to Stop Being a Bottleneck at Work

Fashion and lifestyle media company Refinery29 churns out some of the most compelling content on the internet. With 500 million readers across multiple media platforms, how do you keep generating interesting content without sacrificing quality? At this year's 99u Conference, Creative Director Piera Gelardi shared how she learned to stop being a bottleneck. Here are some tips based on her approach, guaranteed to give your teams more autonomy and unleash productivity.


Define Your Principles

Piera began by sharing her thought process with her teams. She explained how she critiqued work and set clear expectations for things like headlines and images. She advised her team that they no longer had to run everyday content by her as long as they strived to meet the principles.

If you find yourself critiquing every PowerPoint your team makes or tweaking your team's projects on a daily basis, take a moment to actually think about your process. What elements are you looking for? What does good work look like to you? Define your principles and share with your team. Give them the freedom and trust them to meet your expectations once you've shared.

Don’t Prevent Mistakes Before, Coach them After.

Rather than mitigating risk by reviewing and editing each piece of content before being published, Piera makes a point to provide feedback after. If she sees work go out the door that could be stronger, she provides feedback and recommendations to be implemented next time. Doing this allows her team to make decisions and move quickly while also getting guidance and direction over time.

Autonomy is something we all want from leaders, but for many it’s hard to let go. Refinery29 is proof that your team can have both a high bar for work and the autonomy to execute it quickly.