When you are aiming for peak performance, letting go of the reins is often the best thing you can do for your team, your business and for your sanity. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest things for many up and coming leaders and for leaders to do.
In this post, we’re going to look at why it’s important to let go and how to learn to hand over the reins.
What are the benefits of letting go of the reins?
It takes more than one person to run a company. You may be the visionary leader and the motivation behind the teams, but you can’t run the company on your own. You need a team; one with diverse talents, skills and knowledge which can be called on whenever it is needed. As leader, your key task is to discover and draw out those talents and abilities so the team can work as a collective to achieve their goal.
No one person can possess every skill or talent needed to bring the team to peak performance. It makes sense for you to compensate for your weaker areas by using the abilities found within the team. Not only does this improve the team as a whole, it gives team members the chance to develop their own leadership skills. One of the things you should be doing as leader is seizing the opportunity to lift other women up so they can follow in your footsteps. – refer to post on the 7th March. This is an excellent way to do so.
By letting go of the reins, you open the way for your team members to discover and apply their own talents and leadership skills, and ultimately strengthen the team you have.
What’s stopping leaders from letting go of the reins?
That all sounds great, but I know what that voice in your head is saying.
“Nobody can do this as well as me” or “What if it all goes wrong?”
There are two things to consider here. The first is that you can’t possibly have the time to do everything yourself. You are going to need help. The more you try to do and to control, the slower you are at producing results. You become a blockage that someone else will eventually need to deal with. And that’s not going to reflect well on you.
The second thing is risk of failure. You’re worried that your team members won’t do a good job and they’ll let you down. Again, you’re thinking about how this will reflect badly on you. But when you think about it, your team is probably producing results on a more consistent basis than they could if you were still micromanaging things.
The risks in holding on are greater than the risks of letting go.
How can leaders learn to let go of the reins and achieve peak performance?
These are three important things to do before you let go of the reins, and the great news is that by doing them, you will ease your mind and gradually allow yourself to let go.
- Accept risk and change often go hand in hand.
The risk of failure is present in everything we do, whether we notice it or not. When you make a change like this, accept the fact that it involves some risk but don’t forget to look at the potential benefits, too. The benefits in this case are the potentially improved work performance, the discovery of talent within your team and the building of future leaders. It’s worth taking the risk, don’t you think?
- Build strong processes.
One of the best ways to minimise the risk and ease your mind is to develop sound and streamlined processes for the work. Make sure that your team is familiar with it and it will guide them no matter what work they are doing.
- Define the limits of responsibility.
When you hand over the reins, be specific about what your team members can and cannot do. Set clear boundaries so they understand when they need to stop and come back to you. Be clear on the responsibility you are handing over and the circumstances under which they need to refer back.
With these three things in place, you can confidently hand over the reins to your team and do the work you should be doing. By working together like a true team, peak performance is within your reach.
Do you have experience in letting go of the reins? We’d love to hear about it. Please leave us a comment below, telling us how it worked for you. If you have tips to make the process easier, please share them, too.