Nothing Wrong With Leaders Cleaning Up Messes

Once you learn to trust, you’ll realize it’s not that bad.

Do you remember being a kid (it was great wasn’t it)? Do you remember the first time you climbed up on the kitchen counter to grab something out of the cabinets. As soon as your mom or dad saw what you were doing, they’d grab you or tell you to let them get it while you protested and screamed, “I can do it myself.” That logic, however, that parental voice was really just scared you’d either fall from the counter-top or make mess. In either case, it was a mess they didn’t want to deal with.

Many leaders carry that same attitude to guiding their teams. They let those same fears your parents had of you falling or making a mess prevent them from ever trusting anyone other than themselves from taking chances. But the reality is, you absolutely must let your team fall or create a mess if you hope to have any success as a leader. You just have to be there to clean it up.

Have You Ever Been Called A Control Freak?

You should know right off the bat that I’ve been called a “control freak” more times than I’d like to admit. But all of that criticism has really helped me to face that flaw and take steps to improve my habits.

I’ve now learned that it’s easier for me to clean up an attempt than it is for me to get multiple projects off the ground on my own.

And that was a difficult pill for me to swallow, but I’m glad I did. A big part of my success this year has been on learning to trust those around me, learning to step back so others have an opportunity to step up.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still difficult handing every job over to one of my over thirty personal trainers. It takes a lot of trust to turn the keys of the club over to my team, however it is the only way we have been successful.

And looking at it from a positive perspective, trusting means you’ve given them a chance, and now you can help them see where they went wrong through the process. And yes the first time there’ll be plenty for you to point out, but guess what, the next time there won’t be as many problems. Then magic happens, and before long they’re coming to you with new ways of approaching a project, ways you haven’t even thought of yourself. .

So with the simple act of trust, you’ve taken an eager worker and built their confidence, added value not just to that individual, but to your entire team, and you’ve now delegated a task which has freed up more time to work on other projects.

In the end, our goal as managers, as leaders, is to empower those around us to reach their own potential, to help them see in themselves what we see in them. And that may mean letting them fall once in awhile and having to pick up the pieces. But if in falling we’re able to further their growth, then we should be sweeping with a smile.


This story originally appeared on my LinkedIn page.

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