Friday, December 28, 2012
The Most Misunderstood Aspect Of Great Leadership
Mike Myatt, Contributor
I write about leadership myths, and bust them one-by–one.
I was recently asked what I consider to be the most misunderstood aspect of great leadership; in other words, what makes great leadership great?
What immediately came to mind is not only misunderstood, but it also happens to be the most often overlooked element of leadership, and the one
which also affords leaders the greatest opportunity for personal, professional, and enterprise growth. If you want to become a better leader
in 2013, I suggest you become comfortable with a leadership practice few are – surrender.
Surrender – not for the faint of heart
You'll rarely encounter the words leadership and surrender used together in complementary fashion. Society has labeled surrender as a sign of
leadership weakness, when in fact, it can be among the greatest of leadership strengths. Let me be clear, I'm not encouraging giving in or
giving up – I am suggesting you learn the ever so subtle art of letting go.
A leader simply operates at their best when they understand their ability
to influence is much more fruitful than their ability to control. Here's the thing – the purpose of leadership is not to shine the spotlight
on yourself, but to unlock the potential of others so they can in turn shine the spotlight on countless more. Control is about power – not leadership.
Surrender allows a leader to get out of their own way and focus on adding value to those whom they serve.
Surrender – control freaks need not apply
If you're still not convinced the art of leadership is learning the focus point should be on surrender not control, consider this: control restricts
potential, limits initiative, and inhibits talent. Surrender fosters collaboration, encourages innovation and enables possibility. Controlling
leaders create bottlenecks rather than increase throughput. They signal a lack of trust and confidence an often come across as insensitive if not
arrogant. When you experience weak teams, micro-management, frequent turf wars, high stress, operational strain, and a culture of fear, you are
experiencing what control has to offer – not very attractive is it?
Surrender allows the savvy leader to serve where control demands the ego-centric leader be served. Surrender allows leadership to scale and a
culture of leadership to be established. Surrender prefers loose collaborative networks over rigid hierarchical structures allowing
information to be more readily shared and distributed. Leaders who understand surrender think community, ecosystem, and culture – not org
chart. Surrender is what not only allows the dots to be connected, but it's what allows to dots to be multiplied. Controlling leaders operate in a
world of addition and subtraction, while the calculus of a leader who understands surrender is built on exponential multiplication.
I have found those who embrace control are simply attempting to consolidate power, while those who practice surrender are facilitating the distribution
of authority. When what you seek is to build into others more than glorifying self you have developed a level of leadership maturity that
values surrender over control. Surrender is the mindset which creates the desire for leaders to give credit rather than take it, to prefer hearing
over being heard, to dialogue instead of monologue, to have an open mind over a closed mind, to value unlearning as much as learning. Control
messages selfishness, while surrender conveys selflessness – which is more important to you?
Surrender – when not to
Keep this in mind – we all surrender, but not all surrender is honourable.
Some surrender to their ego, to the wrong priorities, or to other distractive habits. Others surrender to the positive realization they are not
the center of the universe – they surrender to something beyond themselves
in order to accomplish more for others. Bottom line – what you do or don't surrender to will define you. Assuming you surrender to the right things,
surrender is not a sign of leadership weakness, but is perhaps the ultimate sign of leadership confidence. I'll leave you with this quote from
William Booth: "The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender."
Edited by: Lawyer Asad
Posted by Lawyer Asad at Friday, December 28, 2012