Letting them grow

If you have been lucky enough to have worked for a good manager, then you know how the experience of working for them lasts well beyond the actual job. Their influence, advice, and criticism can become one of the many inner voices that guide you through the rest of your career.

Because hopefully at some point you will be moving on from them.

One characteristic of a good manager is being able to let go. They need to realize when their employee is ready to move on, sometimes even when the employee may not be certain themselves.

I have a teenage daughter and while there are minor (and I do mean minor) moments when I want to throw her out the window (thankfully we live in a bungalow), overall it’s been a very positive experience.

Well, at least for me.

My husband is having a bit harder time adjusting to her being closer to 20 than 10.

While he is committed to staying close to her and being the primary male role model in her life, he’s starting to get a bit antsy that there may be competition. We have had many a late night discussion that has me channeling my inner teenager to try and explain why he needs to let her grow…not go. That he has to accept that while she will always need him in some way, it just won’t be the same way. She will always be his daughter, but not his little girl.

(And then he reminds me he was once a 16-year boy and gives me a few arguments to back up his stance. Point for him.)

I believe he is tempted to block any attempts she has to branch out and keep her tucked in safely at home. He easily comes up with arguments against taking unnecessary chances and risks…like any kind of social interaction with boys.

I have seen many managers that operate this way too. Coveting their strongest employees, as if they belong to them. Keeping them out of reach from other opportunities, not encouraging them to branch out, and worse, actually blocking them from moving. Maybe the intent is coming from the right place (?!)…but the result is not going to benefit anyone.

The employee is not going to benefit from further development, they may become complacent, discouraged, and de-motivated. They may even sneak out their bedroom window when they think you are sleeping.

Being a manager, like being a parent, means knowing when to let someone grow. And at some point, that might also mean letting them go.


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