The Art of Letting Go

There may be times when you look at an employee’s “full day’s work”, and have to choke back the venom. Don’t they understand how important [whatever] is? Or that you could do it twice as fast, twice as well? What do you pay these people for? If this is starting to sound familiar, take (cold) comfort that most entrepreneurs have often felt this way. It’s derivative of two key factors: 1) employees will never care about your business as much as you do, and 2) your lens is likely distorted.

Hypothetically, you can do something (everything?) quicker/better than your employees, it’d be a death sentence to run a business that way. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but those can quickly become patterns. You don’t scale. Remind yourself of that fact each and every time the temptation arises.

When you take assignments away from your employees you undermine the authority, motivation, and responsibility that you’ve given them. You’re – in essence – commanding them to digress professionally. Sure, there may be short term efficiencies, but you’ve now made yourself indispensable (in the worst way possible) and a bottleneck for your business. You’ll entrench your bitterness, galvanize resentment, and burn your evenings/weekends. Again… “I’ll do it myself” is the metaphoric monkey trap entrepreneurs fall for time and again.

Perhaps better to ask yourself: are you communicating the expectations clearly? Are you selling or allocating enough time for your employees to work up to those standards? If your employees don’t have the skills you need, are you training them? Is a client running rough-shod on your PM or account manager and your production team paying the consequences? It’s rare that an employee is pure poison – so what are the underlying issues at play?

When you’re grinding the direct work, you’re not looking out for the business – you cease leading and start injecting systemic points of failure that all lead to you.

Small failures in business are going to happen – your goal must be to ratchet down their frequency by letting go of the near-irresistible need to do everything yourself. Instead, create champions within your organization that are encouraged to take part in the vision and interpret it. They won’t do things as you would, but that’s often not a bad thing: when they have one thing to focus on and are professionally invested in that success, their ability to produce quality work will far outstrip yours. And you’ll have one less thing on your already over stacked plate. Perhaps with some diligence and a little practice in the art of letting go, you’ll be able to enjoy your weekends again.


First Published in TechVibes, Photo: morgeFile

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