How to Let Go without Giving In

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The problem is you won’t let go. You’re the victim of too much perseverance.

Organizations grow when new competent talent steps in.

7 reasons letting go challenges longstanding leaders:

  1. Identity: Who am I after I let go?
  2. Confidence: Will I perform as well?
  3. Ability: Can I learn new skills and behaviors?
  4. Uncertainty: How will new leaders perform? There are no guarantees new people will perform. In the short-term they may not do as well as long-termers.
  5. Place: Where’s my place in these new patterns?
  6. Meaning: Are new roles fulfilling and meaningful?
  7. Preparation: How has new talent been prepared for new leadership roles? Lack of leadership-development may be the number one reason leaders won’t step back so others can step forward.

You must:

Letting go isn’t optional – organizational success demands it. New talent produces new perspective, innovation, fresh vitality, and forward momentum.

You can’t:

You can’t step away even though you must let go. Bringing on new talent is never exemption from your leadership-responsibility.

8 ways to let go without giving in:

  1. Attend fewer meetings.
  2. Coach, mentor, and train new leaders. Privately prepare new leaders to lead the meetings you led. Guide the process, enhance their skills, and let them run.
  3. Talk less ask more.
  4. Talk values with new leaders before ventures. Values-alignment anchors safe, stable environments.
  5. Suggestions become imperatives. Your casual suggestions, even if you aren’t leading the meeting, become company policy. Make fewer suggestions. Explore the suggestions of others.
  6. Conduct after-action meetings with new leaders.
  7. Expect reports; create accountability.
  8. Celebrate progress.

Bonus: Jim Collins’ research suggests that promoting from within is more effective than bringing in outside talent.


How can leaders step back without stepping away?

What are the dangers when leaders let go?


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