Not sure why I’ve been thinking about letting go lately. It’s usually springtime when the strong urge to clean things out and let go of old things comes upon me. But lately, in my coaching practice, I have been speaking more and more to leaders about the power of letting things go — especially when it is outside your area of control or influence, and I personally am feeling the need to do this as well.
All of us have things that we would be better off to just let go. Yes, these can be physical things such as the clutter in your office; those files that you’ve been meaning to sort out; the old storage containers of work from years past, etc. But there are other things too; the less concrete things that take up valuable space in our minds and sometimes inhibit our ability to think more freely and creatively.
I am referring to things like releasing an old work grudge; releasing pent-up anger or disappointment in someone on your team, or more personally, in yourself. The acts of letting go of some of our decision-making power, of delegating more of our routine work to give others a chance to learn, and then releasing our control over the outcome, can be simply freeing. We can let go of being all things to all people. We can let go of perfection or of a plan that is not working. We can even let go of a client who does not fit anymore. Finally, letting go of team members who no longer carry their weight can give a big boost to your team, as well as yourself.
Leaders carry a lot of weight on their shoulders. When we take some time to reflect on what we could let go of and finally take action to start this releasing process, some of the burden is quickly relieved, and you can actually feel the shift back into your creative center.
If any of the examples above resonated with you, think about what would happen if you just released an issue or gave it someone else to handle. Learning to let go is key to being a more adaptable agile leader.