I was conducting a corporate training session recently where the group had a really terrific discussion about when leaders need to get involved in situations and when they need to step back. It reminded me of a tweet I saw recently from a fellow training professional that said, “You don’t manage or lead talent…you let it.”
My first reaction to the tweet was of course you manage and lead talent. Unfortunately, it can be really hard to have meaningful dialogue in just 140 characters, so I decided to let it pass. But given the recent discussion during my training session, I thought I would bring it to you for discussion.
Honestly, I think this person’s tweet was intended to talk about the same thing my class was discussing: delegating versus abdicating leadership. An important aspect to leadership is knowing when to delegate and support employees doing things on their own. It doesn’t mean we stop leading or managing. We still have many leadership responsibilities to support delegation:
Providing relevant information
Supporting individuals and teams
Coaching and mentoring
Holding people accountable for results
Being a leader and manager isn’t about doing everything yourself. It’s also not about just “letting it be.” When an employee has demonstrated the skills and willingness to assume responsibility for a task, we absolutely let them handle it. Even then, it doesn’t mean we abdicate our leadership responsibilities. We provide guidance and support. In fact, it’s only when we do our role effectively that we can delegate (i.e. “let it happen”) and know with confidence our employees will be successful.
The leaders I’ve had the most respect for were those who gave me the tools, delegated the task, held me accountable for the results, and created the environment for me to be successful. That’s not “letting it be.” That’s managing to make it happen.
Image courtesy of Michal O2