Anyone can steer the ship, it takes a leader to chart the course.— John Maxwell
When I think about leadership, I think about satellites. At any given time a satellite can be flying above us. Some that are camera capable can take stunning photos of entire continents at night and show the lights of the city. At other times those same cameras can zoom in to capture incredible detail... sometimes scary amounts of detail.
So why do I think about satellites and leadership? As a leader, you must be able to zoom in and have a 10 foot view with your people. This might look like getting your hands dirty, doing project work, checking time lines, and answering emails. At other times a leader can zoom out and look at it from a 10,000 foot view. They can ask the questions: What am I missing? What will this look like in 12 months? What obstacles are in the way to get us where we need to go? This is the sweet spot for a leader.
I chose the John Maxwell quote above because it is so true. Leadership, at times, requires you to be at a 10 foot level and in the weeds. It requires you to steer the ship. The problem with staying there is your team needs someone to navigate the course. They need someone who can think at a 10,000 foot view. They need a leader.
In order to raise your leadership ceiling to 10,000 feet, you need to release and trust your people to do the job you hired them to do.
This is often hard for leaders. You might feel like you aren’t connected with the team. You might feel like you are losing control. But if you are steering the ship...who is navigating the course?
Let’s look at some ways to release and trust your people so you can lead.
1. The quick release - List out 5 things that you are doing that you need to give to a team member. Now communicate with your team members what you are giving them and your expectations.
2. Operating view review - Write out the last four weeks of events from your calendar on a piece of paper. Now write the "feet view" number of where you were operating for that event. Now you have a visual idea of where you need to trust and release others. A bonus is you can add them all together and divide by the number of events to get your average operational level.
3. Butcher the sacred cow - I love the quote "sacred cows make gourmet burgers". Ask your team or a trusted adviser, what they think you hold too close and should let go. It might hurt for a time, but ultimately it is about the team, not about you as the leader.
When you trust and release your people, you will begin to operate at new levels. You can see things others don’t. You can chart the course for new and innovative projects.