Leadership roles are frequently redefined in growing organizations. Leaders grow with growing organizations or both stagnate and die.
Growing organizations require leaders to become novices again and again.
Stepping back and letting go:
Leaders of growing organizations are always learning and relearning to step back so others can step forward. Growth is a process of letting go so others can take hold.
Stepping back is far more than delegating. It’s developing a spirit of ownership.
Stepping back isn’t disconnecting or dumping on others. “You do it!”
Leaders who have been fully involved seem to struggle with partial involvement. It’s all or nothing.
10 ways to disengage in an engaging way:
The challenge of letting go is giving people the feeling that you still care. You aren’t just dumping on them.
Don’t blurt out, “You do it,” when someone asks for direction.
- Affirm the person and the question. “Thanks for….”
- Ask them about issues/opportunities/challenges they see? “What are some of our challenges…?”
- Offer a little insight, but not much. “Another issue might be….”
- Set direction. “We definitely need to address…. Does that make sense?”
- Now ask, “What do you think we should do?” (You’ve been engaged, but not controlling.)
- Lean in.
- Ask, “What’s the next step?”
- Affirm. “That makes sense. Go for it.”
- Do you need anything from me?
- Let me know how it goes.
At the beginning, letting go is slow. Eventually, you become less essential.
A way of seeing:
Growing organizations require leaders to see themselves in new ways. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal transformation.
One sticking point along the way is your need and the expectation of others for you to give answers. Comfort yourself with the idea that the person who gives the answer owns the issue.
How might leaders learn to let go in ways that energize others, rather than making them feel dumped on?