Letting Go of Managing

Last weekend I had the benefit of spending a day at the Oprah 2020 Vision Tour and of course was taking notes feverishly as she and her thought-leaders shared their experiences and philosophies. There were many “aha” moments that day but one that resonated with me profoundly “Don’t manage where you should be consulting. BOOM!

These 7-words hit home HARD. I have been working through the idea that I find my value in others needing me. I have always been very clear, actually obstinate, that I don’t need anyone however ironically I am learning that my self-value has been wrapped up in others needing me. As I have explored this concept I have come to realize that finding solutions for others is what gives me satisfaction however I often find myself solving FOR others or worse solving problems that don’t exist.

Since swallowing this concept of managing vs. consulting last weekend I have been able to step back and understand how that has also played into my need to be needed. There are two areas I see it play out the most and of course it is where I spend the majority of my time; work and home.

In the many roles we play in this life understanding the “line in the sand” that defines where you should be managing and where you should be consulting can be blurry. In my life I have adult children that are living their lives successfully and shifting from “Mom!!” to mom-of-adult-children is indeed a shift I am perfecting.

Let’s explore a couple of examples…

The shift from “Mom!!!” to …mom

The shift from being “MOM!!”, the one that solves all from band-aids to prom-prep to “mom” the one that you call when you just need someone who loves you to listen is a huge paradigm shift. This is the first place you should ask yourself, “Are you still managing where you should be consulting?”. There is indeed a fine-line that defines when our roles change from managing our children’s lives, education, hygiene and medical care and understanding when it is time to hand the keys to their kingdom over for them to manage on their own. There isn’t a defined moment that tells us when this transition should occur but it’s fair to say somewhere between college and “moving out” is that time.

The sticky wicket in this equation of “letting go” is that you are still “Mom” and they will call for advice however the difference is in your understanding your new role as consultant versus manager. Giving advice is sharing wisdom and understanding that they have the choice to take your advice or not is where your shift from “Mom!” to “mom” is defined. You being okay with their choice to follow your advice or not is truly where consulting lives.

Leading a Team

If you are a leader of a team your role is to lead as a resource and resident expert. While your experience is premium, which is likely why you are the Leader, the team that has assembled also has varied experience and expertise. True success in leading a team is allowing all members of that team to contribute. A great leader knows how to deploy the team based on each person’s expertise to create the greatest results.

It is important to avoid creating a “Hero Culture” where you, the leader, are the “reason” for all of the groups successes. Being a “hero” is not sustainable and leads to burn out of both the leader and the team. Changing the paradigm to allow the team to manage their areas of expertise with your guidance (consultation) is where EVERYONE wins and teams thrive. Great leaders understand their role on the team as consultant of great managers.

In both examples the shift to consult versus manage will allow you more room to grow and do the things that offer value in your life and workplace.

Letting go…

Admittedly the shift from manager to consultant requires an exercise in “letting go” which can indeed be scary. We inevitably worry about what will happen if let go however that too is part of the process. Don’t forget that the way we learn is by failing, falling down and getting back up, and trying again. If we don’t allow others to fail along the way we are cheating them of the experience.

The gift that you give yourself when you move to consultant from manager is TIME! It takes far more time to manage than to consult. That time that we gain is where we are afforded new opportunities, growth and new LIFE experiences. Remind yourself that you have done the work, put in the time and now it’s your turn to do what you want which is the benefit of letting go. Time is the gift you gain as long as you recognize that gift and use it wisely.

I challenge you as we are starting off this NEW YEAR to ask yourself in all areas of your life “are you managing where you should be consulting?” Take the steps to let go where you find those opportunities to step back, understanding that the gift that you give is allowing others to shine and the time you receive back is the greatest gift you will ever give yourself for TIME is precious!

Life as I see it – L.

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