FORTUNE -- A sales manager who worked for me once had a big meeting coming up with an important client, and he was worried he wouldn't be able to close the deal. I spent time coaching him on how to present our product, and over time he felt much more confident. However, I wasn't completely sure he was ready, and I didn't want to risk losing the business. I told him I'd go to the meeting with him and make the pitch myself while he watched.
It wasn't until later -- when he was no longer working for me -- that I found out how resentful he had been that I had stepped in and decided to try to solve his problem for him.
Early on in my managerial career, my instinct was to jump in and solve my team's problems by myself. I finally realized that taking on too many of the issues they should be solving on their own made it impossible for me to scale my attention as the company grew. I also frustrated many of the people on my team.
Over time, it became clear that I needed to delegate if I wanted to run a growing organization and maintain morale. I knew I had at least followed the cardinal rule of hiring people smarter than I was, so I had to trust them to do their jobs while I spent my time on things that only I could handle. In fact, when there is a problem, I first ask if I have the right person in place; I don't necessarily just try to fix the problem.
To sum it up, I only do what only I can do. And I realized that -- as a CEO -- I need to spend my time doing five things that no one else can do:
This does not mean I abdicate responsibility for any of the departments that report to me. I am directly involved with product, ad sales, editorial, marketing, PR, etc. on a daily basis to help steer them in the right direction. However, unless I believe those managers are making egregious errors in judgment (which rarely happens), I let them lead and only overrule something when I absolutely have to.
I have to trust my team to do the rest.
Paul Greenberg is the CEO of CollegeHumor Media
Because many chief execs control so much money and we pay them so handsomely, we want to believe they deserve to be treated like stars. Most of the time, we are building ourselves up for disappointment. How to break the cycle. By Shelley DuBoisShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Dec 3, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Over the past few years, more CEOs have left their gigs than in the recent past. Is it a sign of a calming economic storm, or something else entirely?
By Elizabeth G. Olson
FORTUNE – For many CEOs, the economic roller coaster of the past few years has reached a lull. And instead of opting for another go on this particular amusement park ride, many have been eyeing the exits.
According to MOREOct 24, 2012 12:40 PM ET
Directors must seize control of CEO selection and pursue the task in a way that's fundamentally new at most companies. Here are a few of the most critical steps boards need to take. By Ram CharanAug 8, 2012 12:54 PM ET
Many CEOs feel isolated once they take the position, despite the fact that chief execs these days interact with more and more people. By Shelley DuBoisShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Jun 29, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Why do leaders risk so much over what, in the grand scheme of things, is a small dishonesty? By Katherine Reynolds LewisMay 16, 2012 2:37 PM ET
Companies that go for long stretches without a CEO could be recruiting in the wrong places. By Shelley DuBoisShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Dec 7, 2011 12:14 PM ET
In the game of corporate musical chairs, room is often made for even those executives and board members from disgraced companies. And there are few signs that this will let up.By Elizabeth G. OlsonSep 16, 2011 11:43 AM ET
While millions are still out of work, U.S. CEOs received a 28% pay raise this past year. A lot of factors are driving the increases. Job performance isn't one of them. By Eleanor BloxhamJul 5, 2011 10:57 AM ET
Corporate chiefs who pay themselves skimpy salaries may not be doing it for the right reasons, according to a recent study. By Mina KimesJun 1, 2011 10:53 AM ET
|ID'ing alleged Bitcoin creator leads to L.A. car chase|
|Wal-Mart slashes iPhone prices|
|Staples to close 225 stores|
|Mortgage rates fall again|
|Albertsons to merge with Safeway|