Get out of the way!
“You can either lead, follow, or get out the way.” -Jidenna
I know a lot of CEO’s and founders and one of the things all of us seem to be learning over time is how to get out of the way.
To put it politely, when you’re running a company you need to be doing at least one of the below:
- Contributing to a solution.
- Helping to make things better.
- Getting out of the way if you can’t do 1 or 2.
For me, getting out of the way has less to do with me and more to do with my team.
Like I’ve said many times before, I look for and aim to hire leaders who align with our values.
And that pretty much sums up why it’s integral that I get out of the way.
When you’re lucky enough to build a great team of individuals that’s self motivated and always looking to grow, the best thing you can do for them (and you) is to let them do their thing.
It sounds easy, but we’ve all been guilty of micromanaging at one point or another, it’s only natural when you’re running your own business. But the conscious decision to acknowledge your team’s abilities and potential is empowering all around. It allows for a flow of ideas and you’ll see every individual’s confidence increase right before your eyes.
I wanted to take some time to talk about a couple of steps that you can take to actually move out of the way and let those amazing people you’ve hired take whatever you’ve created to the next level, benefiting your business from the inside out.
I listen. I know, as a leader you’re always listening to someone, which isn’t easy when you’re running a company and there’s about a thousand thoughts running through your mind at any given moment. But really listening is different than simply hearing someone. If you’re listening to what the people you’ve entrusted with your business have to say, there’s a good chance you’re going to walk away smarter and more successful. I’m a true believer in the idea that listening to someone is a fantastic way of enabling them to follow through and do their absolute best.
I get that I can be bias and work to really understand that. Whenever I sit down for a meeting, the big elephant in the room is my own bias. I know it, and so does my team. Of course I like to think that I’m super open-minded, but it’s just the simple truth that we are informed by our experiences and sometimes that can make it difficult for us to see the truth. So that’s what I focus on – better understanding those experiences, how they continue to inform the way I see things, and most importantly, accepting and adjusting that they may be interfering with my ability to see reality.
I place importance on effort.Things don’t always go as planned. What we thought would perform amazingly might not. That’s life, that’s business. But the effort that goes into creating something amazing doesn’t go out the window just because it didn’t live up to my expectations. This is where I think making things better comes into play. Anything can be improved, you just have to think about how, while remembering to acknowledge and champion why you did it in the first place.
I try to offer my team great opportunities. We all want to hold onto great people tightly. It makes sense, why wouldn’t you want someone amazing on your team forever? But empowering your team members with opportunities that will fulfill their strengths doesn’t mean you’re losing them, it means you’re making even better use of them. Seeking out opportunities for your best people will make it clear to them that you really care about their success and in turn, they’ll care about yours even more.
I don’t just share my strengths, but my weaknesses too. I know what I’m good at and what I’m maybe not so great at, but when I actually share these strengths and weaknesses, I inspire team members to do the same. I think as leaders we feel like we have to be great at everything – management, finance, marketing, hiring. But when I’m real about my capabilities, it functions as a great mechanism that curbs my team’s need to over promise or overextend. One of our greatest strengths is knowing our own weaknesses, because it leads us to people who can complement our expertise.
I realize that a phrase like “get out of the way” sounds kind of trendy, and that we’re living in a world where things are far less defined, but at the end of the day, getting out of the way has a lot to do with being aware and making a conscious effort to self improve.
If I’m doing my job well, I can expect that my team is doing their’s even better.