Many of my clients are on the curvy road of figuring out management and the sharp turn that is required moving into leadership. Many people use the terms management and leadership interchangeably and it has been so striking, how different these two states really are.
Here you are: You really want to be a good leader to your company, your team, your direct reports, your family, your group of volunteers, your friends. Whatever the context or the circumstances, the concept is the same no matter where you stand. You are very careful about your planning, you are proud of your delegation, you have been giving them great direction and advice, followed up, controlled the results, given feedback. Yet, it seems like nobody is showing any initiative and nobody is coming up with anything past ordinary!
So what went wrong?
Most likely, you were stuck in playing the role of the expert, demonstrating your knowledge, and teaching rather than helping your people how to learn. A huge piece of the journey is to embrace the mindset of wanting to be of service and letting go of your ego. And with that, control.
To be able to see and admit that another person could do a better job than you can, is one of the most powerful steps for continued growth, both for the company and for yourself.
Teaching someone something and then letting them run with it and supporting their choices is a big leap and one that combats complacency and inspires innovation. And you can be endlessly proud that you have let this happen instead of controlling and stifling it.
Great leaders succeed through having influence and impact and knowing when to step back. They also know that taking themselves out of the equation and delegating to the person who steps up and proves that they are able to make smart decisions and delivers great results is a very important step for that person's growth but also, their own.
"Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them." -John Whitmore