“Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge” – Eckhart Tolle
If you’re carrying baggage around or holding on to a heavy object, it‘s only heavy while you’re actually holding it. Once you put it down, you can move freely.
It’s the same with mental baggage in the workplace. If you remove it from your mind, you can think freely and create space for positivity and development.
So, what’s holding you back, and how can you let go?
What Are You Holding On To?
There are many things we hold on to in life. Some to protect ourselves, some because of fear, and some because of our controlling behaviour. The most common reasons that leaders hold on to are:
The need to be right. Yes, we all recognise this one! It’s a strange human trait, and one many leaders desperately cling to, rendering themselves incapable of moving forward.
Everyone likes to have their ego bolstered, to be praised for their knowledge – it raises our self-esteem. But letting go of this is a biggie – the sheer joy of not having to be right all the time is a gift you will enjoy – and you might learn from others who are sometimes right too!
Striving for power or status. Striving for status, power and respect from others can hold you and your team back. Refusal to let anyone else take credit for anything only causes resentment and dissatisfaction.
There’s no shame in acknowledging a colleague came up with X idea – on the contrary; it shows you in a good light as a person who is willing to share the limelight and give credit where it’s due. And your team will respect you for that.
Blaming yourself. If you’re the type of leader who takes everything personally and blames yourself for anything that goes wrong, you need to address low self-esteem and overcome the destructive behaviour that seeks to undermine you from within.
Taking responsibility when it’s not your fault will damage your confidence as well as making you look incapable as a leader. It will have a negative effect on your team, and they will begin to doubt your ability to lead.
Alternatively, if a mistake is yours, acknowledging it and apologising will encourage your team to respect you as a fair leader who is prepared to admit when something is their fault, and move on.
Maintaining the status quo. Are you the kind of leader who just can’t delegate?
If you are, you’re most likely swamped by your workload and don’t have time to do everything thoroughly. Not being ready to part with anything is a trait that a lot of leaders share.
It leads to frustration for others who can handle the work and to stress for you as the unfinished tasks mount up.
Show your confidence in your team by delegating to them – they will be empowered to take ownership.
Negative thoughts about a situation or colleague. If you experience this, ask yourself why you feel this way. Is there an underlying cause? Can you pin it down to a specific event? Are you resentful of someone else, worried about something or holding a grudge against a colleague?
These negative thoughts can be resolved by acknowledging the root of the problem and considering it logically.
Why Should You Let Go?
If you are carrying a burden, you will remain stuck in the rut you’re currently in, unable to move forward. This, in turn, will see your work output (and possibly health) plummet and you will not achieve your potential.
It’s also worth noting that top performers do a few smart things that let them work less while achieving more.
Letting Go As A Leader
There are several ways to let go – and trust me; you’ll feel better when you do! Letting go doesn’t mean letting go of your leadership – just your need to control.
Make a firm decision to change your ways and then stick to it. You will notice you feel lighter, having shed your metaphorical baggage and your colleagues will enjoy working with you and respect your leadership.
Allow others to take responsibility – your employees will be engaged and motivated by being empowered. Their productivity will increase, and the whole team will benefit from a happier working environment.
Work collaboratively – teamwork will pay dividends in sharing the workload and encouraging you to all pull together. This motivation will inspire everyone to do more to help achieve the company’s overall goals.
Grasp new technologies and transformation. Don’t be afraid to do things differently. Embracing change and technology will showcase you as a forward-thinking leader who is looking for innovative ideas to progress the business.
Organisations change when people change. People make a business – so when you change, the business changes. Letting go will increase your ability to be more productive, less stressed and will create a superior company culture.
Reinforce your new behaviours and be kind to yourself. Recognise your self-awareness and determination and give yourself a metaphorical pat on the back when you achieve a new positive practice until your new habit is fully formed and becomes automatic.
Letting go will free up your time to concentrate on the tasks you need to focus on, allowing you to forge ahead and plan your long-term goals.
These changes will, in turn, result in a respected leader with a motivated, collaborative team and excellent company culture. This will not only help retain your staff but attract new talent to your business.
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