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Practicality of letting go

For those of you who love problem solving, enjoy the challenge and excitement when a breakthrough is made, like to dominate conversations… this is for you.

What got you here won’t get you there. Marshall Goldsmith authored a book by that name. He states that the skillsets and behaviors which were rewarded early in our careers are not the ones that we need to practice now as we become more experienced. In fact, if you have graduated from first level leadership to one who manages other managers, you must unlearn some of those things which got you the gold star before. In my coaching, I often see several derailers which Goldsmith mentions in the book.

It’s time to let go of:

  1. Winning too much

  2. Adding too much value

  3. Telling the world how smart we are

  4. Failing to give recognition

  5. Not listening

  6. Excessive need to be “me”

  7. Playing favorites

If you are guilty of any of those, STOP! Make this your New Year’s resolution. It pains your people greatly when you do these things. You are wasting people’s time when you show off your smarts, when you don’t listen, when you miss key insights, or when you favor certain employees and then close yourself off to critical information. When you add too much value, you are stealing someone else’s opportunity to learn, grow and contribute.

As a mid to senior level manager, your job is to facilitate the growth and development of your people. How will they learn if you do their thinking for them?

It’s hard to do, but that is exactly the practical and strategic thing you must do in order to make room for your employees to develop and for you to lead at a higher level. You must now oversee the strategy and direction, and lead change, not solve the many detailed issues. Your new challenges will have sticky details, of course, but they will be higher level issues around people, money, resources, culture, learning, collaboration, engagement, accountability, innovation;  all big strategic issues.

Let the rest go.


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