Let them go

It happened on Day 3.

“See you at the bottom.”

“Take it easy and be careful!”

I took my boys skiing a few weeks ago for the first time. Day 1 and 2, I was in control as the ‘expert skier’, showing them how to stop, turn and not wipe out several others whilst using the button lifts.

As their Dad, it felt great. I knew what I was doing and it gave me great satisfaction to see them develop whilst also keeping them safe. However things changed towards the end of the third day, as their progress started to accelerate beyond my own abilities.

Expert dad was now becoming a blocker.

Youth was on their side, along with a mindset of possibility and a quest for adventure. They didn’t want complete autonomy, just some freedom.

It was time to let them go.

Sometimes I come across leaders who face a similar challenge with talented individuals within their teams. Promoted into roles because of their expertise, they can unconsciously create a team environment that doesn’t provide the space for others to grow and flourish.

As the leader they know best and it feels good because they get to stay in control.

However over time, those with potential working in this environment get bored. They begin to look into other parts of the business or externally for roles that will satisfy them and give them opportunities for growth and development.

As you read this, think about those that you lead.

Who can you give some increased responsibility to? What projects are suitable to allow for fresh thinking and adopting some new approaches? How are you creating an environment where your team can grow and develop?

Adrian Eagleson