Leadership Challenge: Letting Go of Control

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


One of the great opportunities of leadership is the delegation of tasks to others, which not only frees up your time to be more strategic but also develops those employees to whom you’ve delegated. Although it is a great opportunity for leaders, it is also a great challenge. Delegating means letting go of a fair amount of, if not all of, the control associated with the way tasks are completed. I find this to be a struggle for many leaders, myself included. As the owner of my business, I find that letting go of tasks and delegating to others can be quite a challenge at times. What if they don’t do it right? What if they don’t get it done on time? What if they upset the clients? These “what if’s” can go on forever. I have tortured myself through many of them and what I’ve learned are three keys to ease my concerns in the area of delegation.

First, I need a high degree of confidence in the people I delegate to; therefore, I am diligent in my selection of those I hire to work for and with me.

Second, I need a fair amount of updates and status checks on how they’re doing with the tasks. Usually I need more updates and status checks early in the relationship. Once I get to know the individuals and their work ethic, and our relationship develops, the amount of check-ins decrease.

Lastly, I need to change my “what if” comments from negative to positive. So, instead of “what if they don’t do it right?”, I think, “What if they do it better than I ever could?” Or, “what if this works out better than I thought?” That mindset shift helps me expect the best as opposed to expecting things to go wrong. Does this mean things never go wrong? Of course not but it certainly sets up an environment that is more expectant of success than if I kept thinking of all the possible ways things could go wrong.

Many of my clients also struggle with delegation and so we focus on how they can be comfortable delegating to those on their team and develop the necessary relationships with team members so their degree of comfort is constantly increasing; therefore enabling the amount of delegation and “letting go of control” to increase. In addition, as they relinquish their control to others, they work to shift their mindset so that they look for and anticipate the best results.
Although this is not always easy for leaders, letting go of control and delegating is necessary and highly beneficial for all. It not only enables you, the leader, to focus on more strategic items but it motivates the workforce to take on more responsibility and fosters more employee development.



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