I was speaking at a leadership retreat, and right in the middle of an afternoon session on relational leadership, I said, “Let me show you. Let’s demo this, who wants to volunteer to come up and talk about something you want to move forward on?” Nobody moved, except their eyes, looking away. Crickets.
Finally a guy at one of the side table said, “Oh, alright.” And as he got up the group of leaders broke out in a nervous applause.
We sat on 2 chairs in the front of the room and I said, “How do you want to use this conversation?”
“I need to learn to let go of control of the people I manage.” he said.
Wow! That’s real. Impressed with his honesty in front of his peers, I asked, “What’s the picture of you letting go of control?”
He was quiet for a moment… then he said something so profound, “Letting go is me not holding onto people. I need to become a catalyst for more than I can handle.”
“A catalyst in what ways?” That was the last time I talked in that conversation. This corporate executive sat in that chair and chattered like a kid dreaming about Disneyland, almost like he was seeing it for the first time. I sat with him.
The most important aspect of launching people is creating space. Space for people to talk. Space for people to think in new ways. Space for people to move forward. The strange thing is, people need help with space. Most of us need others to create space for us. Spin that around – People need you to create space for them.