How do I trust my subordinates?

“What is some advice you would give to a leader who has a hard time letting go of the reigns and delegating to others?”

The most common answer I hear from leaders who have a hard time letting go is a feeling of ‘loss of control.’ They worry that the ship will crash when they begin taking their hands off the wheel. This is human nature. As a junior officer in the SEALs, I thought I had to lead everything because of the nature of my title. However, it was a series of great mentors who taught me that the true sign of a leader is how the team or organization performs when the leader leaves.

While letting go of the reigns can be uncomfortable, it’s important to look past your ego and realize that delegating is about the team, not you. Regardless of how efficient you think you are, one person will never be able to get more accomplished than a good team. Think about the benefits you can gain from releasing your grip on ‘control’ and delegating to your subordinates. First, delegating will free up your time. Once free, you can take a step back to make strategic decisions versus tactical ones. Secondly, delegating builds trust amongst your ranks by allowing subordinates to take ownership of tasks. Third, delegation increases productivity in the long run.

Finally, delegation can lead to potential promotions by showing that you have effectively trained your team/replacement and are ready for the next level.

Remember that everything in leadership requires balance. You can’t wake up one morning and expect your team to run the show. But if you want to lead and win, you need to be willing to lose a little control.

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