“My daddy told me when I was a young girl
A lesson he learned, it was a long time ago
If you want to have someone to hold onto
You’re gonna have to learn to let go.”
Those lines are from Katy Mattea’s song, “Come from the Heart.” The following comes later in the same song.
“In life as in love, you know I need to remember
There’s such a thing as trying too hard”
If you’re a leader, you need to take those lines to heart. There is such a thing as trying too hard. And there are lots of benefits if you learn to let go.
In the Industrial Age, we assumed that workers needed supervisors who knew more than they knew and who would correct their mistakes. That led to a habit of close supervision and catching people doing things wrong.
But those days are gone. This is the age of the knowledge worker. Your job is not to catch people doing things wrong. It’s to coach, cajole, and inspire. All that gets easier if you learn to let go.
Let go at work
Give your team members the most control possible over their work life. Give them autonomy. That’s the primary thing people want, according to Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. Give people autonomy and they will work their tails off.
People with autonomy will engage with the work hand each other. They’ll give you better results today and better results tomorrow, too. That’s because people working on their own will learn and grow.
When you learn to let go, you’ll become a better boss, too. When you let go you give yourself more time to coach and time to concentrate on the most important things.
Let go from work
You must learn to let go from work, not just at work. When you let go from work you take time to rest, recover, and relax. When you let go from work you give yourself time to spend on important relationships. When you let go from work, you’ll find you become better at work because you’re fresh and more creative.
The Holidays can be a special challenge.
The holidays bring other, special pressures. It’s time for that year-end push to make the numbers. Suddenly, it seems everyone else wants to party while you’re worried about your team’s productivity.
You may find yourself sneaking looks at your phone to check text messages. You might even go to another room so you can “do a little work” and “not get too far behind.”
You’ll do better if you go with the flow. Lock your phone away if you must. Have a child or trusted friend hide your laptop for a day or so. Enjoy the party. Enjoy the people.
A year from now, you’ll probably struggle to recall what those texts and emails were about. But you’ll remember the people, the good times, and the laughter.
Get better team results today by letting go at work.
Get better team results tomorrow by letting go at work today.
Become a better boss by letting go at work.
Rest and recover when you let go from work.
Let go of work to enjoy the Holidays more.