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Why Letting Go Will Make You A Great Leader

Why Letting Go Will Make You A Great Leader
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If you’ve ever found yourself in charge of a company, you probably came into the position with a grand vision of how the organization would function. It’s possible that, to achieve this vision, you may have ended up micromanaging your staff. This may have made them afraid to try new ways of solving problems, only working to get the job done rather than to flourish.

As a manager, you have to let go of the “my way or the highway” mantra, and look toward the goals you have for your program or organization. As long as your staff is working toward this same goal, everyone involved will succeed.

Why should you let go?

To establish trust

When you stop micromanaging your staff, you establish a trusting relationship that goes both ways. If you’re constantly getting in the middle of your employees’ projects and looking over their shoulders, they’re more likely to let nerves take over. They’ll be more concerned with completing a task in the way they think you want it completed than completing it to the best of their abilities.

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Trust your staff’s ability to get a job done, and they’ll trust the major decisions you make for the company.

To allow your staff to develop

You don’t want your staff working under such stress that they complete their tasks like programmed robots. Humans have a distinct advantage over machines in that we learn while we work on a job, rather than just doing the job the way we’ve been programmed to do it.

As a manager, you hired your staff members not just because you saw in them the ability to get a job done, but also because you saw an opportunity for growth. Let them find their own solutions to problems, and they’ll continue to develop the skills necessary. Allow them to not just succeed, but to push their limits and go the extra mile.

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To free up time for you to make other decisions

If you’re constantly micromanaging your crew, you’ll spend way too much time on the little things, and your business will fall apart. Your staff is in place for a reason: to worry about the little things so you can think big. As the leader of a company, your job is to steer the ship toward major goals. If you leave the helm to make sure your deck hand didn’t miss a spot while mopping, you’re bound to go off course or crash the boat.

You do need to supervise your staff from time to time, but you should make sure that most of your time is spent looking after the major decisions that will affect your business in the long run.

How to let go

Fully train your staff

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You hired your staff members because you saw potential in them. However, this doesn’t mean they know everything about the business. Make sure they’ve been given time to understand the main goals of the company and their role within the team. Assess your employees’ performance over time, and give each member performance goals for the coming months and year. Along with this, offer professional development opportunities so they can strengthen their weaknesses and push their abilities even further.

When you fully equip your staff with the tools they need to succeed, you won’t have to look over their shoulder on a day-to-day basis.

Focus on the big picture

The running theme here has been to avoid the need to micromanage. If you don’t delegate tasks to your staff, or spend too much time harping on them over small mistakes, you’ll have too much on your plate to make any real progress. Take the time to list all the major things you want your company to accomplish, then decide how everyone can work as a team to accomplish the little tasks that will get you to your goals. Once you’ve delegated responsibilities, let your staff members work their magic. Allow them to be creative in their approaches, and don’t intervene unless they come to you for help — unless there are glaring issues that require immediate attention.

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Working with your staff doesn’t mean overseeing every little activity within your company. Just remember: don’t sweat the small stuff.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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