Leaders Who Let Go. Written by Multi Award Winning Leadership Coach, Nick Roud.
It may come as no surprise to you that one who leads may find that they must do everything. The leader who is just starting out may want to jump into every aspect that comes their way. Quite the opposite. Leadership isn’t about doing everything, it’s about doing the right things at the right time to ensure the right outcome.
It’s the effective leader who can pause, take themself out of the moment to ask themself the most important question.
‘Am I the best person to do this work and or task’?
Far too often due to time pressure, resources and or other factors that may mean the leader can’t let go. I see the often over worked executive taking on more. They are actually getting in the way of progress and not only effecting things but smothering someone else’s work.
As leaders mature and grow one noticeable aspect of their character is that they have got clarity on the role they need to play, is could be one of communication, one of decision making, one of thinking strategically etc. The leader focus more on what is it I must be doing right now rather than being distracted by the volume of noise coming their way. They have gotten comfortable in saying No to others and more importantly to themself.
Leader who have not got clarity of purpose, clarity of outcome are typically the ones that flip flop in and out of stuff that may not be the very best use of ones time. How often as a leader do you feel yourself drifting off topic onto something else? How often do you find yourself getting to the end of a working day only to find you have more to do than when you arrived into the office in the morning.
In letting go you are not simply avoiding work or tasks you are being more effective as a leader.
Focus is probably high up on leaders areas of development. Focus on the stuff that he/she needs to be doing and avoiding all other. How often do we hear colleagues hide behind the word busy?
To my dyslexic brain the word Busy means;
As a leader continues to nurture their position how often does one re look at the bigger picture? What aspects may have altered and or changed that needs to be re priorities. Just because you have done certain things at a certain time before doesn’t necessarily mean that you must carry on doing those things today.
A good way of establishing an approach to letting go is to ensure you are having regular conversations with your manager. Be curious in those conversations and ensure you are owning what it is the organisation needs from you today and into the future. When communication breaks down between a manager and his/her report those one on ones start to be cancelled or postponed that is when the leader starts to see themself being busy. The reason for that is they have lost focus, they have assumed to much and therefore what is needed is clarity. That is why I believe it is so important that consistent 1:1s are maintained. During that important time you as the leader can continue to check in with your manager to share where your focus and or priorities are, ensuring that what you are working on is still in line with business needs.
Once those 1:1 meetings have concluded it is your responsibility as the leader to re focus on the short, medium and long term needs. Creating a short workflow will help you maintain focus. Creating a ‘stop-doing’ list should also allow you to regularly check yourself and ask yourself that burning question that all leaders must keep asking themself throughout their working day
‘Am I the best person to be working on this or is someone else in a better position to do so’?
Letting go isn’t a sign of weakness. If you look at it from a differently angle letting go will allow you the most important need any leader strives for and that is Time.
If I asked you to spin 10 plates for 10mins what do you think might happen? That’s right I’d say 10 plates would quickly fall to the floor below and smash. Instead if I asked you to focus really hard for 10mins and to keep only one plate spinning. What might the chances be that that plate will remain on point for 10mins? I believe we would have a 100% success rate. What do you think?
Throughout life we will have periods of time that we will feel under the pump, not enough time, juggling too many plates. What I encourage you to do and consider as a leader is, what must you let go of and in doing so what one thing must you really focus in on.
Letting go isn’t about avoiding your responsibilities its about doing what you are responsible for.
Nick Roud is the founder of Nick Roud Coaching, his work has won numerous global leadership development awards, he is a coach to successful CEOs, executives and emerging leaders. A dyslexia introvert that quietly goes about helping leaders lead. You can find our more about Nick 1:1 leadership coaching work by visiting nickroud.com