• Leadership and Letting Go

    In my previous blog I talked about the importance of Leader’s perspective in drawing people from the limiting and limited “false self” into a more expansive way of being and acting and how this growth dynamic is a key motivator for human beings. Understanding why growth and development matter is a good place to start as a Leader, but it is not sufficient to guarantee success. One reason for this is linked to the egocentric stupor that I mentioned in the last blog. We all tend to fall into this stupor and the Leader is no exception. Having opened one’s mind to the unlimited potential that we have as human beings, the Leader, like everyone else, must work his or her way through some of the challenges associated with dropping the “false self”.
    I will talk about “Leadership and Letting Go” in two blogs, beginning by considering how the desire to keep control adversely impacts the leader’s effectiveness and looking at some of the challenges associated with letting go of control. In the second blog I will consider how the desire to “control” has adversely impacted human thinking and how it is an important contributory factor in creating many of the existential challenges we face and our children will face.
    In my experience the deep-seated need for control is often challenging for Leaders, particularly at more senior levels. “Control” is closely linked to delivering results and Leaders are often recognised and rewarded for their ability to consistently deliver results, to “make things happen”. The challenge may be seen as shifting from “make things happen” to “make things happen through others”. The chaotic, fast moving post COVID-19 reality intuitively seems to call for more control, not less. In most situations, to do so would be a serious error and, in fact, what is required from leaders is to empower their teams more, to give their teams more control and more accountability. Skilfully (and courageously) letting go of control builds significantly higher levels of trust, engagement and a willingness to “try something new”.
    Balancing the business risk, the reputational risk and the psychological risk is both challenging and essential for leaders. And for their teams. Teams which have truly been empowered to function effectively as a team feel safer (an essential element in a post COVID-19 environment) and feel catalysed and enthused to act with speed and purpose.
    Letting go of control starts with deeply believing that your team can do it and follows with the need for you to “diminish” in stature, in status and in recognition. As a Leader’s “false self” diminishes, his or her “true self” grows and the team’s “true self” grows as we all evolve towards the recognition that its not about “me”, it’s about “us”. “Us” as a team, “us” as an organisation and “us” as a species working with existential challenges at many levels and searching for new ways to identify and take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities that emerge as we evolve.

Leadership and GrowthLeadership and Letting Go II