Do you ever struggle with letting your leaders lead? Do you know of a leader that wants EVERYTHING done his or her own way?
You know the type. They will tell you how they want things done. Then after watching you do it “the wrong way”, they will step in and “show” you how to do it. Not once, not twice, but multiple times. Before you know it they have done your job for you.
That was me! I controlled everything. EVERYTHING. What did my actions create? Bored, unhappy employees. Along with more followers vs leaders.
Everything began to change after one of my sales associates Sandi, asked to speak to me after work. The first thought that ran through my mind was “she is going to resign.” Why else would she ask to speak to me when her shift was done?
The day was done and Sandi’s shift was over with. I braced myself for the bad news. Sandi was not your average sales rep. She was very well respected by her peers and in a lot of the ways, Sandi is the employee you want everyone to strive to be. Resourceful, top performer, driven, dedicated to the team, and a team player.
Sandi started our meeting. “Tony I was once like you. Motivated, full of energy, driven. The do everything leader. I also had many dreams and aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder. Seeing you work is like replaying a movie of my past life. Unfortunately my movie did not have that great of ending. Can I share a story with you?”
I was wondering where this was going. “Sure, I am open to learning. “
“You are creating more work for yourself than you need to. You have a talented group of sales supervisors on your team. However, I see you constantly meddling. I get that you want things done a certain way. But didn’t you put them into a leadership position because you thought they could lead. If you continue to always control every aspect of the how, what, and when of every task your staff does you will work yourself into the ground. You will also hinder the growth of your supervisors. You might also end up like I did…29 years old, overweight and almost dead from a heart attack. All because I wouldn’t let go of the rope. Is that what you want?”
I really didn’t know what to say. Was she right? Yes, in many ways. I was cutting my leaders off at the knees. I wasn’t giving my leaders the room to lead. I was only 20. Her words hit home with me. Heck, it was just 2 months earlier I was in the hospital due to exhaustion.
Sandi went on to say, “When you can learn to give your teammates the room and space they need to explore an issue, brainstorm, come up with solutions and implement them that is when you are becoming a good manager and a better leader. You will also create less work for yourself. You will have a happier staff. You will create more trust as well.
Unfortunately, it took me 3 sales manager jobs to finally really understand this lesson. I can say since I followed Sandi’s advice it has helped in me countless ways. Reduced stress, more productivity and so much more. What’s even better? I have been able to surround myself with an amazing group of managers who know how lead. Sandi was right. Let go and let other’s lead!
Lessons on how to let go and develop leaders?
- You put leaders in a leadership position for reason. Work with Leaders rather than around them. When you go around your leaders you actually diminish their ability to lead.
- Let them make mistakes- General George Patton said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
- Realize you don’t have to be everything to everyone. – Let your leaders lead and get out of their way.
John P. Kotter said it well, “Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there.”
Thank you Sandi!
Focus on the strategy and let your leaders carry out the strategy.
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Equip, Educate, Empower, Encourage