These last few weeks have been a whirlwind in my home. with three of my four children attending multiple camps each and some of them being at sleepaway camps for one or two weeks at a time.
I planned to have them attend these camps almost a year ago. While it was exciting to send them off to discover new things about themselves and the world around them, it was equally as difficult to let them go without me. Nonetheless, I maintained my strength as I let them go to flourish and gain exposure. So, I settled into uncomfortable.
There is a parallel here between what we do when we let our children go, and when we purposefully seek to grow and promote the talents of our people. As managers of teams, we are often prideful about what our team accomplishes or even how others perceive our team members’ growth. We might even take their successes as our own and take it personally when they fall short. In the end, though, it is about their “why.” It is about their goals and dreams. We must be comfortable with letting them shine, putting our egos aside.
Additionally, managers often feel threatened by any thought of having to allow their team members exposure to executive leaders, their boss, or even the board for fear of being upstaged or overshadowed. This is the wrong way to think of the role of manager. You will always be a manager and never considered a leader if you limit your team members’ exposure to all levels within your organization. In fact, your stock as a leader will skyrocket as soon as you begin to outwardly develop and provide access to your high-potential team members.
While letting go is hard and scary, especially when the team member is one of our best and brightest, we must be willing to let them go to keep them. As leaders, we would want to see them grow into all that they were meant to be. We would put our selfish fears aside for their benefit. Our legacy as leaders depends on our being courageous enough to do just that. Their tenure with the organization also depends upon that same courage.
This last weekend, I welcomed the last camper home. I admit I was uneasy over this last almost month with my children moving in and out of our home. I know that this is just a small foreshadowing of the inevitable, but I was still anxious and heart-broken. I believe that every person should have the space to discover what they are made of and who they are meant to be. Despite my feelings of discomfort, I am already planning what adventures my sweet children will discover next summer. I sincerely pray that their time away from the cocoon of our home leads them closer to what they are called to do. This is will be my leadership legacy.
For those of you interested, I wrote a poem to my children during this time of my discomfort. You can read that here.
Thank you for reading this article. Please do share it with those whom you think might benefit from its message. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Cheers to creating more fertile ground!!