How Letting Go Unleashes Team Ideas And Innovation
Have you been on a roller coaster and let go? I have. It doesn’t feel right lifting your arms in the air at such speed or height. BUT, once you let go it feels great!! However, letting go requires courage and focus but it can unleash team ideas and innovation.
Leaders that “LET GO” of solving problems have better results and greater impact. By letting go you ask for help, seek input from others and stop trying to solve all the problems in the team yourself.
“LETTING GO” lets you create optimal conditions for ideas, innovation and build greater employee ownership in your team.
I recently worked with a GM of Safety and Environment that simply had to let go. She was frustrated by errors and issues arising from poor performance or unsafe practices in her team. After a discussion with her, it was obvious that her focus was on enforcing rules and compliance, rather than creating team-based solutions and results.
After some feedback, the leader let go of the compliance mindset. She focused on engaging her team in problems to solve, rather than engaging them in her own solutions and ideas. The result was greater involvement in the team that led to a much stronger sense of ownership and creativity. Collective thinking and collaboration had brought significantly better outcomes. Her communication had shifted the focus of the team and their culture.
“But I need to solve all the problems in my team”
I hear this a lot from leaders that are caught up in compliance or setting narrow boundaries for change. They feel like they have to sort out all the problems in the team. In reality employees are better informed to solve problems, as they are closer to the causes and impacts. But often they are not given the chance to contribute.
“Communication can unleash talent and mean the difference between a culture of breathtaking innovation and a culture of eroding stagnation” Alex Goryachev, Innovation Master, CISCO, 2018.
What if the teams’ idea goes wrong?
Prepare for mistakes obviously. This is normal and inevitable whether you are going to try to let go or not. If you are concerned with an issue or a problem, the chances are there is something going wrong already. By addressing the issue head-on you have greater control over any wrong turns and have options up your sleeve to ensure it gets solved.
What if the teams’ idea goes right?
Prepare for greater engagement, energy and results.
Prioritising problems to solve in the team (not enforcing your ideas) enables you to demonstrate open leadership and be clear on the teams direction. The approach will free up time to focus on your work, rather than “solving all the problems in the team”.