Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Learn to let go

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I am facing a major change in the next week. My daughter, who has gone to college for a couple of years, recently decided to serve an 18 month mission for our church; she will be serving in Scotland and Ireland for the next year and a half. While I couldn’t be happier for her decision, it’s admittedly difficulty for me to let her go. Not only will I miss doing things with her, but I’ll also worry about her safety. Though logic tells me she’s a “big girl” and will handle herself well, it’s difficult for me to let go. And yet I know that this experience will provide opportunities that will help her grow throughout her life.

As leaders, we often face situations where someone we know wants to take a new position that will give them opportunities to grow in their career. We might hesitate to let them go because they play such a key role. However, successful leaders learn when to let go and support their people taking new roles (even if they are leaving the organization).

To the extent we support and encourage someone in this situation we will find new opportunities for growth in our own situation. For example, the process of finding and training someone to backfill a role will help us sharpen our own saw. It’s never easy, but in the long run our efforts will be well worth it. The more we help others get where they want to go, the better off we become. And quite often, the people you help with their careers come back later to help you succeed.

The Product Management Perspective: Quite often as product managers we get comfortable with a given development team or marketing exec, and then change comes and we wonder what’s going to happen. As with most things in life, if we embrace the change and work for the best outcome, good things will happen. Learn to let go, and then double down, work hard and things will go well.

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