getting out of the way


I have never considered myself a control freak before. But as I train local staff to move into my job, I’m starting feel a bit starved in some ways. It’s like fasting. And we all know what happens when we fast – our true, raw, unedited emotions and character come out as the hunger pains intensify.

This time it’s not hunger pains. It’s emotional stings. Little twinges that remind me that I have to let go. That other people have skills and gifts and need to be given the space to use them.

It’s a bit of a tug of war. I let go, I pull back, I let go, I pull back. And I’m sure it makes my staff go crazy. And they probably feel frustrated sometimes too wondering why the crazy Barang is taking too much responsibility on herself .

“Amie, just let me do it,” one of my staff told me yesterday as I flitted around nervously double and triple checking that all the “right things” were being done in preparation for a film crew. His words stopped me dead in my tracks. I was stunned momentarily by his courage and his crystal clear analysis of what was really going on. I wasn’t trusting him. And he called me on it.

And so I did. I stopped meddling – cause that’s really what I was doing. And I let them do their work. And you know what?  Everything turned out fine. And it occurred to me that this is something I need to probe more deeply – my fears that nothing can be done (or done well) without me. Because if I keep doing this I’ll burn out and never become a great leader.

Max DePree (Herman Miller) believes that great leaders abandon themselves to the strengths of others and that the art of leadership is liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible. (Leadership is an Art)  

It’s not about micro-managing. Or control. Or being a dictator. Being a great leader means seeing the best in people – their strengths – and letting them pursue excellence.  Imagine if we all did this – consistently!  Wouldn’t the world  be a remarkable place.

Man I have a lot to learn.

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