The Leadership of Letting Go, Part 4

Leadership is about taking decisions, especially good ones.  At the same time, if we are attached to the outcome, then the quality of our decision-making can suffer.  In his book Awareness, Anthony De Mello tells of a saying from the Chinese philosopher Tranxu: “When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him. He cares! He thinks more of winning than of shooting, and the need to win drains him of power”.

That’s just how it is in the workplace, when we hold on to outcomes outside our control. By letting go, we can, in the words of Anthony De Mello, “perceive clearly; respond accurately”. We have the chance to see the situation as it is; we have the chance to access our whole mind. Then it is usually clear what needs to be done and who needs to do it.

Another benefit of this approach in leadership is that others can trust us more; they can rely on us not behaving hectically. It strengthens the bonds of trust. Those who exercise this form of leadership, report that others are willing to help them reach their goals and cooperate with them readily. In the next installment, we look at some practical ways to strengthen “perceive clearly; respond accurately”.

Photo: Jan Rihak / iStockphoto

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