Leadership is not as intuitive as we think. What we’d like to think works, doesn’t actually work; and typically, the only way to find out if things don’t work is to learn from our mistakes. It’s okay though, everybody makes mistakes.
Most people believe that becoming a leader means being the person who has an answer to every question. So, let’s say someone comes to you with a problem. As a leader, you roll up your sleeves and dive in headfirst to resolve it. After all, you’re the one with the most experience. It makes sense to do what you’re good at … right? Wrong. When you constantly do what you’re good at, the team never learns to get good at it themselves.
This brings us to the two most common mistakes: leaders try to control and do too much for their people, and in return their people don’t learn. How do we fix this?
Step 1. It starts with trust and confidence. Trust that your team is doing the best that they can and focus on the effort the team is putting in to solve the problem. If the team doesn’t achieve the outcome, you know that you gave it your best.
Step 2. Stop trying to control everything and everyone. Let your team do things for themselves (easier said than done, I know). You might be thinking, “well what happens if I don’t control things? What if I fail?” So what, everyone fails. It’s about embracing that failure, realizing failing isn’t the worst outcome, and getting back up on your feet. You will learn and you will get stronger. Removing failure as the worst-case scenario allows you to let go of the reins.
Step 3. Look in the mirror and ask the question “who am I?” Start understanding things about yourself as a person and a leader. Figure out what’s behind the mask, what makes you tick, and how you accept praise. This will make it easier for you to make bold, courageous decisions and ultimately help you let go of the constant need to control. Great leaders are not measured by awards or how much has been accomplished, but how you created wins for the people on your team and how you taught them to learn more about themselves and accomplish their goals.
The most important things in life cannot be measured. Leadership is about embracing the wins for others. It’s all about witnessing what they have created for themselves and the people below them. It’s just like watching a child learn how to walk. You didn’t do it for them, but with your support they eventually put one foot in front of the other and figured it out.