Easier Said Than Done: Why Entrepreneurs Should Learn To Let The Small Stuff Slide
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We’ve been experimenting with quite a few new things of late at Entrepreneur Middle East, be it in terms of the topics we are looking to explore in an editorial capacity, or the different streams of business that the management is looking into as they try to diversify their revenue streams. As someone who has long subscribed to the school of thought that “if it’s not done right, then don’t bother doing it,” I’ve begun to rethink this particular notion of mine as the aforementioned changes happen in my workplace, and I’ll admit here that attempting to control my often overbearing impulse to ensure all of the new things that we’re doing is as per the exacting standards we’ve traditionally set ourselves up with has been, to put it mildly, quite a fraught process.
Sure, there are plenty of management journals out there that advise leaders against trying to do everything or micromanage, but I can now officially declare that all of that is, as the cliché goes, much easier said than done. Having said that, I was determined to unplug myself from this sort of ultimate overseer role that I had found myself increasingly playing, and as such, I decided to let go (just a little bit), and see how things flow when I am not putting my eye on everything that is going on in the business. After all, I strongly believe that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way you as a leader are doing things if everything that goes on in your enterprise is wholly dependent on you, and I was particularly eager to make sure that this principle was adhered to in my own workplace as well.
As I set out on this personal project, one of the things I quickly learned is that for those of us blessed (or cursed, depending on how you see it) with the perfectionist’s eye at work, it’s pretty safe to say that there will always be something you see in things that are done around you that you might not approve of, or that you could have definitely improved. Now, it’s one thing to stand by and offer your input to those who are taking the lead, but doing this all the time can be exhausting and defeats the purpose of delegation in the first place. However, I feel that if one allows others to exercise their own acumen in situations, figure out mistakes by themselves, and learn to independently manage every scenario they’re exposed to, then that’s what will result in a more productive outcome for everyone involved.
Of course, this doesn’t (and shouldn’t) apply to everything you do in your enterprise, but it can certainly be put to use in all of your experimental efforts. The people you have onboard for these undertakings may find a way to make it work, and yes, they might also crash and burn- but unless you let them do these things, they (and you) will never know. As a leader, as tempting as it may be to tackle every fire that you see within the enterprise, as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman put it, “smart entrepreneurs don't try to fight every fire. Instead, they figure out which fires they can let burn- so they can focus on the ones they absolutely have to fight.”