In Leading High-Performing Teams, the Hardest Thing to Do Is to Give Up Control

In Leading High-Performing Teams, the Hardest Thing to Do Is to Give Up Control

Yes! Give up control. When we think of leadership, we think of getting our teams to perform effectively and efficiently, usually as we would, right? Wrong. We might expect our teams and individuals to perform at the same level of efficiency as we do, but the thing is, we usually have many more years of experience and have learnt from the many challenges that face leaders on a day-to-day basis. If we aren't in control, well, we feel out of control. That's where it all goes wrong. No one can grow and develop by doing things in exactly the same way that you do them. They could even do them better. Imagine that! Learning to let go and give up control is one of the most challenging leadership competencies that exist. So how do we give up control?

  1. Be clear about what you expect from the team member. Not sure? Write it down in a way that explains what the team member "will leave behind" when they are done.
  2. Involve the team member in the goal setting. Get their input, so that they buy-in to the goal and don’t feel as though it's been pushed onto them.
  3. Use words that encourage the team member—not you "must," "should" or "will," but rather "consider," "think about," and "how will you." This way you slowly give up control by transferring the accountability or responsibility onto the team member through an agreed process.

And, yes! Let it go…it's the only way that team members will grow and you can get on to do the strategic role that you always say you don't have time for.

Tip by Ginty Chalk, Principal at the Lean Methods Group. Inspired by Daniel Pink, author of bestseller Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

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