Being a Better Leader Part 3: Letting Go

As an accountant or professional you may well have the ability to get through a lot of volume.

You may even find that you get quite a buzz from completing a list of things.

After all you may be like many accountants and professionals and be very achievement focused.

While this is often a great trait in the early stages of your career, it can actually end up being a huge barrier later on in your career.

In many ways as a leader you are a bit like a conductor of an orchestra.

The direction you give, the trust that you show and allowing others to shine is what delivers great results.

Of course it’s easy to say but sometimes much harder to do in practice.

There are probably several reasons why you find it difficult to let go, such as:

You can do things quicker yourself

For a one off piece of work that’s probably true.  What if instead it’s something that you have to do regularly?

I’m sure you realise that by investing a bit of time in helping someone else to do that regular piece of work you free up time and help develop someone else.

Others will think you are passing the buck to everyone else

This is certainly one way of interpreting things.  On the other hand is it reality.

When you are in a leadership role it’s a lot less about doing volume but focusing on improvement and driving an organisation or function or project forward.

Often others views come from misunderstanding what your success is judged on.

You find it hard to trust others

So instead of setting out what you want to achieve and empowering the smart people around you, what happens is you become a micro manager rather than a leader.

Will others let you down if you trust them?

Of course it will happen from time to time but it’s unlikely that they will have gone out of their way to let you down.

I’m sure there have been times when you or indeed all of us have over stretched ourselves and let someone down.

To get better at letting go, I suggest the following:

Start small

Don’t start with something massive, start small and get comfortable with letting go.

Build in contingency

You know who always delivers when you expect them too and you know that there are going to be others who you know will need a bit more encouraging.

Build in a buffer or contingency so that you don’t miss important deadlines.

Accept it won’t be perfect all of the time

Life in business isn’t like that.

There will be times when despite everyone’s best intentions things don’t work out as you hoped.

Accept this and see it as a process of continual learning.

In truth the people you lead are critical to your success as a leader.  Don’t limit your success due to an unwillingness to let go and leverage the potential of others.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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