First, you need to let go of a few things.
No doubt, you’ve heard the phrase that the perfect is the enemy of the good. That doesn’t just apply to other people; it applies to you and your team too. And, the thing is, a lot of the time what you expect as a leader is your version of perfect. There are some cases when perfection is truly an objective measurement but most of the time it’s subjective and good enough is good enough even if it doesn’t meet your version of perfect.
If everything has to be perfect, not much gets done and the growth of your team stagnates.
Here are three action step ideas you can take as a leader to hit the sweet spot between what has to be perfect and what can be “good enough.” By following these steps, you’ll get more done and grow your team.
First, ask yourself on a regular basis, “By getting personally involved in this, do I create a significantly better result?” I’ll bet you’ll find some pretty interesting answers to that question. And the answers are going to be, most of the time, not so much. The key word in that question is significantly. Is your direct involvement as a manager really going to make it that much better? It might be marginally better with your involvement but is that really the highest and best use of your time and attention? What about the impact on the development of your team?
Second, recognize that while you’ve likely become an expert in a lot of things, getting results through your team probably no longer requires you to be the expert. Now that you’re in your leadership role, start giving away the things that you’re an expert in to your team. That’s how they’re going to grow and develop. They may not do it exactly the same way you would do it, but at some point, earlier in your career, somebody took a bet on you and asked you to do some things that they used to do. You did them well enough that you’re here now. Place the same kind of bets on your team. Identify the things that you’re an expert in and start giving them away to your team.
Third, step back and consider the risk-to-reward ratio as you decide what has to be perfect and what can be good enough. As you do, recognize that there are different kinds of risk. To name a few, there’s financial risk, operational risk and reputational risk. You certainly want to mitigate those, but if you look at your team’s daily workstream many of the things they’re doing everyday don’t have a lot of direct impact on those risk factors. There are also other types of risk, like the risk that a lack of engagement and low morale could have on developing and retaining great talent. To mitigate those kinds of risk, you need to factor in the rewards of giving people space and support to learn from mistakes and develop the ability to do their best work.
Accelerate the growth of your team and get more done by letting go of perfect.