Let Go. Lead Openly.
Let go. These two words might be the hardest thing for a leader to do.
As an owner, are you prepared to be completely vulnerable and honest — to share what you really value in life, and in your organization? Are you willing to put your thoughts and ideas out there for everyone to see? Are you ready to start connecting with your employees about what they care about outside of the office?
If this “soft stuff” feels too mushy for your business, now is a good time to press the pause button and consider this: It takes more courage to be vulnerable and open with your people than it does to stand in front of a board room. (We promise.) Why do we know this? Because there’s a very good chance you’re already doing the latter. You’re comfortable, or at least accustomed to, delivering convincing and detailed sales presentations. You’re on the spot when clients ask about your value proposition and you can show them how your firm will help them win.
But so many leaders are not doing what’s truly challenging — and what drives personal and professional growth for the owner and everyone in the organization. They’re not letting go.
Leaders might think they are protecting the business, but in fact they can actually be chipping away at the culture when there is a lack of transparency, trust and compassion. Every leader has a different personality and something that makes him or her special. Hold on to that. But let go what’s holding you back from connecting with employees so they can grow, advance, and take ownership in what you’re trying to build.
Here are the three Ts to identifying your “closed doors” and creating a culture where employees want the organization to succeed as much as you do.
Letting go as a leader means trusting that your people will do what they say they are going to do. And, it includes trusting yourself and your vision for the business — trusting that you are headed in the right direction. It requires vulnerability to trust your people to do their good work; and it takes self-confidence to believe that your ideas for the company are valuable.
Trust issues often develop in organizations when there is a lack of transparency. When we put up walls, human nature is to wonder what’s happening on the other side. When we don’t do what we say we are going to do, people lose faith in our word. These sound like simple lessons to live by, but often they are absent values in organizations that struggle with employee engagement and culture.
What matters the most to you? What do you value? When building an organization, it's imperative that you are clear on your personal values and company values and use those as the foundation. These values give us something on which to build our vision, guide us on what strategies to deploy to make that vision a reality, and what individual tasks are required to execute on those strategies. There's no magic. It's simply thoughtful, purposeful planning. You just put one foot in front of the next until you get there.
The good news is, you aren’t the first owner or leader to go through this process. Your business challenges, talent issues, training roadblocks and production hiccups are similar to those at other companies, and we can all get better and work smarter when we share knowledge openly.