Effective Managers Learn to Let Go

Sections of this topic

    Did you know that nearly half of all new leaders fail in the first 18 months? That’s according to the Center for Creative Leadership.

    Many of them were surprised to discover that what got them there — from working nonstop to sweating the small stuff — isn’t enough to keep them there.

    The Problem:

    Nine out of ten say they arrive at the top feeling they lack the know-how and tools to succeed. What’s more, most don’t get the organizational support they need — starting with the boss.

    The Good News:

    What it takes to make it a high performing leader can be learned. It’s a matter of picking up new skills and strengths. Most leadership development focuses on building managerial skills such as delegation, team building, communication, performance coaching, etc. However most don’t even touch on what the new leader has to let go of – those things that led to strong performance as individual contributors or team leaders.

    To Be An Effective Leader You Need To:

    1. Let go of insecurity.
    Remember, you were chosen for this job by people who thought you can do the job. Yes, you may feel insecure inside but outside you need to reflect self-confidence both in your presence and purpose, even if it doesn’t come naturally at first.

    2. Let go of being the Lone Ranger.
    You may have advanced here on your own, but now you are only as good as your team. If you have the right people with the right skills in the right positions, the right things will get done right.

    3. Let go of doing it all – all the time.
    This may have made you a superstar in your prior position but, at this new level with much more expectations, you’ll burn out. Break the cycle of activity addiction by doing the things that matter and have the most value in your job.

    4. Let go of the urge to control everything.
    Micromanaging is a sure way to fail. It kills the spirit of competent and committed people. Morale goes down, people get disengaged and mediocrity sets in.

    5. Let go of being responsible for everything and everyone.
    Foster personal and team accountability for outcomes. It’s done by linking their specific tasks and responsibilities with company priorities. You need to demonstrate the value and importance of what they do.

    6. Let go of just seeing what’s on your plate.
    An innermost perspective may have served you in the past, but it won’t now. Lead with an outside-in view by understanding what else is happening in both the internal and external environment. Don’t be a modern-day Rip Van Winkle waking up to a world you no longer recognize and manage.

    7. Let go of being in the background.
    Like it or not, your days of being “low-profile” are over. When you’re a leader you act and speak on behalf of your team, department or organization. Become adept at influencing others whether peers, upper management and other key stakeholders.

    Management Success Tip:

    Peak performers are often promoted to a managerial or leadership position and then left to sink or swim on their own. Therefore you must take charge of how you “show up-stand up-and deliver” as a leader. It requires you to add new abilities and let go of old ones that won’t serve you well in your new position.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?