Letting Go and Helping Others Grow

Today’s post is by ML Hubbard, one of our Emerging Leader bloggers. I love her passion for leadership!

Power. Control. Mine.

We’ve seen it happen to the best of them haven’t we? From the extremely witty Marvel villain, to the money driven investor, to the yacht owning CEO – power and control have been their demise.

It starts out as something so simple. A success. A compliment. A promotion. And before too long what was just an attempt to prove one’s worth in the world becomes a sense of entitlement and drive.

I work at a fast paced company. There’s no time to stop and smell the yellow roses (that’s for all you Texas readers). Not only is there no time for a light stroll; there’s no room for those who lack competence. It sounds harsh, but it really isn’t. We’re in the business of developing leaders, and competence is a key characteristic that is needed to get that accomplished.

The only problem with that sort of mindset is that it can at times produce driven—while capable—self-sufficient leaders. And this can be a good thing gone bad.

Leading in the middle is difficult. Embracing a call to emerging leadership can be treacherous, confusing, challenging, and overwhelming, yet what an amazing opportunity to display control and power at its best.

Here are a few things I’ve learned and continue to learn when it comes to loosening my grip and letting others take the reigns.

Self Awareness Is Key

Some leaders don’t practice this and they definitely don’t adhere to it. There needs to be a season on your journey (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) where you truly sit down and evaluate your leadership style not against your own standards, but by asking your team and your confidants to speak into your life. These are the people who see you lead every day. Step back and away from the situation, listen to their feedback, and truly determine whether or not this is an issue in your life and leadership.

Know Your Team

It’s difficult for some leaders to let go of certain things, and I believe one of the biggest reasons as to why is because they don’t know what their team is capable of achieving. They fail to recognize their team’s strengths, weaknesses, and abilities.

“Well Mary Anne in sales does one thing and one thing only – 80 dials a day and she keeps her job.”

News flash – Mary Anne may be really good at dialing 80 numbers a day and her success rate may be through the roof, but Mary Anne may also be one of the most brilliant innovators on your team.

Get to know your team. I believe you’ll be surprised at what makes them tick.

Let Go

I’m amazed every day at experienced and emerging leaders who choose to hold tight onto things that only weigh them down. Often times they’re simple tasks that can be passed onto someone else in training  or someone else who needs to learn the ropes in their new position, yet leaders chooses to hang onto things that are preventing them from growing and stretching beyond their current capacity.

Now, let’s not get confused between stretching yourself and piling more on your plate than you can chew. A leader who is stretched is someone who has been given a new task, one that challenges their mind and their ability, yet at the same time energizes and motivates them to do well.

Piling more onto someone’s plate just because they’re an able body only produces more stress, more disorganization, and ultimately digression. Leaving at 7 p.m. because you have too much on your plate does not equal someone who is excelling at creating balance and rhythm in their life as a leader.

So dear leaders, I say this to remind myself and to encourage other growing leaders:

Let. Go.

Empower your team and your colleagues by letting go of the things that may seem fun. They may be easy to do, and they actually could stay with you your full tenure, but how much more fun would it be to give yourself more room to run while giving your teammates the room and the opportunity to grow.

ML Hubbard is a thirtysomething creative working in resource management and operations. Her desire for leadership development stems from her college years of being involved with several leadership teams throughout school and work. This passon has only grown over the past few years as she’s had the opportunity to lead small teams. When not working, ML enjoys traveling, cooking, antiquing, and spending time cultivating relationships throughout her small urban community.

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  • Linda Sasser says:

    Thanks for your comment Christy. It is a fulfilling moment when a leader understands that they don’t have to do it all… they get to facilitate the great work of their teammates. Letting go allows everyone to grow, including the leader.

    Thanks for your comments.

    ML, great post!!!! Thanks again for sharing what’s in your heart and on the minds of many up and coming young leaders.

  • Christy Moosa says:

    I tend to see things from a “big picture perspective.” “Big picture” type of people learn to step back and see everything and everyone involved. Leadership is so multifaceted and I could see the detailed oriented people and projects easily taking one under.Physically, Whatever is nearest to your eyes has your attention. Having clear perspective and sense of direction is definitely a key to the overall health of leadership. Leaders have to be people as well project oriented and I agree most tend to hold on too lightly. I assume we do this because it makes us realize we have a sense of control. We need others input and to learn how to listen on a regular basis, because others see things and we ought to invite their input! We need to regularly step back and assess ourselves, others and the organization. Great post!