As the season changed, I noticed the trees letting go of their leaves. Not before they drenched our eyes with their vibrant colours of red, orange and yellow. I noticed the flowers we have cultivated, nurtured and enjoyed over the summer coming to the end of their lives. I will miss them. Their colourful population amidst the green of our lawn and trees. I am grateful for living in a country with seasons! As the trees shed their leaves, they are preparing for new growth in the seasons to follow.
It occurred to me, as leaders, we too need to let go of certain habits, thinking and ways of being in order for new growth to emerge. New growth of our team members and our business itself.
What might you need to let go of in service of others and yourself?
The desire to solve others’ problems
A client I recently have begun working with realised that he needed to let go of solving the problems of his team members. He was frustrated in that he had a constant stream of people at this door asking for solutions. What he hadn’t realised that he played a significant part in the behaviour of his team members. He has loads of experience in his field. He is highly regarded by the senior executives. He enjoyed being the ‘go-to person’. He assumed that these qualities were what constituted his great leadership and yet he was frustrated with his team.
Challenging these assumptions and recognising that by handing over responsibility to his team members to accomplish the organisation’s and the department’s purpose liberated his thoughts and helped develop new behaviours.
Having communicated afresh his vision, encouraged his team members to come up with their thoughts on how to move forward and providing the space to pursue their roles and solve their own problems, he is witnessing less queries at his door, greater motivation from his team members and more time for him to consider and improve upon the strategic initiatives as a whole.
The urge to interrupt
One of the delegates from our latest Developing a Thinking Partnership programme discovered the need to let go of interrupting others. Not simply when they were speaking but when they expressed emotion. Giving someone the time and space to express their emotion. Connect with themselves. In the presence of your attention and encouragement free of judgement and interruption.
When we allow others to express themselves from both the head and the heart, it frees them to keep on thinking well for themselves. Letting go of the need to interrupt to make your point, to stop the appropriate flow of emotion, or to take the floor, limits others in being the best of themselves.
To please Everyone!
I recognise once more I need to let go of wanting to please everyone. Everyone is a whole lot of people. For those of you know me well, I am inspired to serve others in all facets of my life. As an over played strength and faulty mental model it can lead to wanting to please everyone. What I know for sure if that we are all different and are driven by different motivations. The way we do things can be different in service of the same outcome. Everyone has different needs at different times and accepting that it is simply not possible to please everyone, is liberating. Focusing my efforts where I have the greatest impact, in the time I have available is in service of those I am fortunate enough to connect with, worth with and serve.
And lastly, as the holiday season approaches, the best selling author and coach, Cheryl Richardson, shares this wonderful insight “Plans change. People disappoint. Traditions expire. And so release your expectations for the holidays and be open to surprise.”
What about you, what might you need to let go of in service of others?