I believe in situational leadership whereby in all kinds of work instances, on projects, in conversations, we are all naturally placed in circumstances that may require us to take control. This may be an imperative in order to achieve a productive outcome. I also believe that the only way to gain control is to relinquish control.
The extract below from a Gina Hayden article, Leadership in the New World: The Rise of the Post-Heroic, Conscious Leader, aptly articulates this thinking:
“Conscious leaders know how to get out of the way. They have discovered the age-old truth (probably the evolutionary equivalent of leaping out of the bog on to dry land for the first time and learning to breathe), that we are not our thoughts and feelings about ourselves. The step up to realising that reality is relative, that there is no objective truth, and that everything you took yourself to be is a construction, is an evolutionary leap that, once taken, there is no turning back from.
With this insight conscious leaders are aware that their view of themselves – their Identity/Ego – is just a construction and, being a construction, it doesn’t have to be defended as much.
This sets them free. They can get out of the way. They can stop being the heroic leader. They can stop having to make it about themselves. They can stop having to have all the answers and resenting someone else who is cleverer. There is less need for defending, controlling, being right and getting attached to one particular position. All of which slows things down in a fast-paced, [VUCA] world where agility is the name of the game. Ego wastes a hell of a lot of time.
Because conscious leaders are able to relax their grip on their perspective on to the world (being the mere construction that it is), they can take in more, listen to others, accommodate contradictions and paradoxes, encourage collaboration, integrate perspectives and unite the system. They are flexible with their hierarchies, they are happy to decentralize control and they distribute decision-making and leadership. They use their intuition to go beyond rational thinking and they trust that the answer will emerge from the wisdom of the collective, not only themselves.
Given the demanding nature and the complexity of the world we are trying to lead into, the trends this reveals and the qualities this requires, I think the leader of the future is not the logically more clever one but the conscious leader.
Does this ring true for you?”