Are you a leader who was promoted into a position of responsibility for a work team because you were smart and successful as an individual contributor? Are you proud of the expertise that allows you to know the course of action to be taken in almost every situation? Do your team members beat a path to your door to ask lots of direction about how to do their work?
You could be suffering from an addiction to being all-knowing. You love the hit of dopamine (the “feel good” hormone that drives your brain’s reward system) that you get when you can prove that you are smart and can tell others what to do. Yet you’re frustrated about why they keep coming back for more direction, over and over. And by the way, you’re impatient for a promotion – it’s been way too long in coming.
As long as you keep giving them direction in their daily work, they’ll keep coming back. So you see, you are a good part of the never-ending problem of the frustration you feel. You’re doing the work of an entire team when you should be leading them. No wonder there hasn’t been a promotion in sight.
When you decide to let go of your addiction, you can experience the joy and freedom to be a leader – setting the vision and mission, encouraging, including, and coaching others in the strategies and tasks of your organization while basking in the glow of the following:
Faster growth and development: You grow into the leader you are meant to be by being set free of the daily oversight of details and tasks. You have the opportunity now to roll up your shirtsleeves and dig into the real work of leadership. As you demonstrate leadership, the people who have your career in their hands just might think more about promoting you. Your direct reports also grow and develop faster too as they are better able to think and learn for themselves.
Genuine teamwork: Your team becomes less dependent on you to provide all of the small details of their daily work. Relationships among the team members can flourish, and individuals work toward shared goals because they now see that they have a stake in the results. Because they are all learning and growing at a faster pace, and because they know that you no longer have to always be right and have all the answers, they can rely more on each other.
Surprising creativity: You are no longer holding tight to the need to be right, and you and your team senses the shift of the open window of creativity. New space is opened for imagination and innovation . Your team members are thinking for themselves and finding creative solutions to dilemmas they face (that you may not have even considered before). You can do the work of leading which is in itself a creative endeavor.
Satisfying results: You’ll be surprised at the results that are achieved when you’re no longer getting overly involved in the details of your team’s work. It might seem counter-intuitive that the results will come, but they surely will now that people are growing and developing, working with each other, and exercising the creativity that they all wanted anyway. The results you achieve will satisfy everyone – including those who decide on that next promotion for you.
Your team is brilliant! Let them shine as you experience the joy and freedom of leadership.