Letting go


"Let your super talented be super talented." 

A business advisor was giving me insight on why many growth companies fail to achieve their full potential. Leadership that strangles the ability of top-notch hires to act independently and creatively. 

As leader, one of the most difficult things is letting go of control. For a founder, it's often the ability to do just about anything that got you where you are, so trusting others, knowing that there are many ways to skin a cat, yours isn't that special, can be just as nauseating as that metaphor. 

It's common practice to hire people more skilled at their area of expertise than you are. It's pretty easy to do. It's harder to let go.

Let go and acknowledge your weaknesses, the things you suck at. Let your organization turn those into strengths. 

A friend pointed out that both Steve Jobs and Ronald Reagan have popular quotes on this leadership trait.

Jobs: "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."

Reagan: "Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way."

It's the listening, the delegation, that's key to extending the capabilities of an organization beyond the strengths of a charismatic leader. 

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