When Leaders let go, energy flows and people grow.
There’s not a person that I know, including myself, who couldn’t stand a little softening around the edges or wouldn’t benefit greatly from a bit of letting go.
Think about your friends, family and co-workers. I’d wager that when you consider how they might be a bit more graceful in the world, you most likely see where they might soften an edge, ease a tightness, loosen a clenched grip or let go of some need to control.
Of course, this applies to you too, you being human after all.
And if you’re in a leadership position, then the areas where you hold on the most fervently might very well be inhibiting the growth and potential of those you lead.
The main reason people leave their jobs is not because of pay.
It is because of the way that they are managed and led.
Ask any employee and the majority will tell you that leaders who are willing to be vulnerable are seen as strong and trustworthy. Leaders who have an over-active need to control are less trusted, less respected and viewed as more fearful leaders. And people are more willing to follow and strive for a leader they trust and respect.
If Dr. Suess were to chime in he might put it this way…
“Oh, the places you’ll go
when you’re willing to let go.”
One all too common misgiving I hear from people working within organizations is that they don’t feel respected, appreciated or trusted by the leaders for whom they work. Typically this is indicative of a leadership style that pushes hard or effective and efficient end results at the expense of building a strong sense of morale, confidence, responsibility, enjoyment and synergy within the culture.
You can have it all if you remember that…
You are ALWAYS building your team.
No matter what else you are focusing on, you are ALWAYS building your team. Always. Either you are endeavoring to build a culture that feels trusted, respected and celebrated, or you are not. And if you aren’t, then your team simply will not remain in tact, let alone grow, strengthen and unify.
Just like a good jockey knows when to hold tight to the reigns and when to let go and let the horse run its own race. Holding tight through the entire race will never win the prize.
True leaders don’t create followers, they create other leaders.
In my work within organizations, I have increasingly seen this hard edge of control and severe sense of directing others limit a leader’s ability to foster communities and cultures of trust and respect. People can feel limited in their opportunities to grow and evolve and consequently don’t feel the enthusiasm to take the imaginative risks that lead to game changing successes.
There can be this overriding sense of the way it should be done where the leader sees opportunities for more efficiency, effectiveness and “doing it the right way” that others might not initially see.
After all, isn’t it the leader’s job to ensure that the end results are achieved the right way, the best way, the most efficient way?
Well, yes, if the products of the team’s efforts are the only end result the leader is looking for. But ultimately the leader is always and without fail attending to other critical agendas. Such as building the team, fostering trust, elevating respect, encouraging honesty, accountability, creativity and an ever deepening sense of enthusiastic empowerment amongst those they lead.
Feeding our fears manifests more of
the very things we fear.
The climber who grips too tight to the rock face for fear falling to their death, will eventually become exhausted and fall to their death. Holding on too tight to anything is not sustainable. The seasoned climber knows that even in the face of death, it is their nimbleness, their light touch on the rock, their trust in their team, their calm breath and their steady heartbeat that will see them successfully through the challenge and deliver them to the top of their goal.
Leaders ask the tough questions – first and foremost of themselves.
- Where am I holding on too tight?
- Is there a fear that’s driving my need for control?
- Is that fear real?
- Where are my hard edges chipping away at the authentic expressions of others?
- What opportunities would open up, for myself and others, if I loosened my grip?
- What specifically would a bit of “letting go” look like? What is the action I can take?
We typically gain trust and respect from those to whom we have given our trust and respect.
Look for any relationships that feel strained or people over whom you have influence who aren’t perhaps acting in ways that show confidence, empowerment, enthusiasm or inspired risk taking. There’s a good chance that the simple (but perhaps not so easy) solution might just be in your own softening around the edges and in your own ability to let go and let the magic flow.
A final reflection – We don’t love the Snoopster simply because he’s lovable. We love and admire Snoopy because he reminds us that true courage is the ability to let it all go and celebrate life with those with whom we work and create!