As leaders, we must be willing to let go of lots of things. Just Monday, I wrote about this idea of surrender. Consider this a companion to that post – perhaps a more practical addendum.
In workshops I led yesterday, I said “no one includes micromanagement in the list of attributes of a great leader.” While we have all seen and experienced micro-managers, people don’t aspire to be one! While the behavior and it’s causes are complex, there is one thing you can let go of that will help you dramatically.
Let go of the how.
If you have delegated or if people are responsible for a task or process, let go of your how. Focus people on what the outcome needs to be and why, and let go of exactly how they do it. When you trust people with how, they will figure it out and be more likely to ask you for your help and guidance. And they might find a better way to do it.
The knowledge type work that most of us do, and that most of us lead, isn’t nearly as clock-focused as the work of a generation (or more) ago. You want to engage your team and inspire high quality work, right?
Let go of the clock.
Whenever the work allows (and it likely allows more often than you think), let people do their work when it works best for them. Yes, if there are meetings or customer expectations, those must be accounted for, and beyond that give people the freedom and flexibility to work during their prime time hours. Let people know what is expected (including deadlines) and why it matters, and let them get their own time that works for them.
Important Note: Did you notice the consistent piece of both of these examples? Let people know what is needed and why it is important. If you have talented people on your team (and you do), and if you give them a clear destination and help them see why it matters to get there, they will get there, if you let them go for it.