How The Practice of Allowing Makes You a Better Leader

Have you ever committed to an uplevel for yourself, your team or your company and it just didn’t happen?  You fell short or didn't hit the mark?  You pushed so hard but it didn’t happen?  You probably reflect on the situation and, like many leaders, blamed yourself or others for underperforming.

I’d like to invite a different perspective for you:  Did you truly allow things to happen?  Did you make space to be curious and take new approaches or did you default to your “way of operating” and push to get it done?  Either way can, theoretically, work but I have seen with so many of my clients that when they make more space for allowing, they actually get far better results!

Does a new project that will allow you to play a bigger look like this:

  1. You create an inspiring vision and get really excited
  2. You share it with your team and they seem to be on board
  3. You put together a project plan, assign roles, create actions and start working
  4. You hit roadblocks and challenges so you push harder to get it done
  5. You feel the team getting demotivated so you push them harder
  6. You feel like you may not actually meet the goal so you push yourself harder

This cycle is exhausting but it is what most of us have been taught to do when something doesn’t progress as we had hoped.

I’d like to invite you, right now, in this moment, to consider the project through the lens of The Practice of Allowing.  In that instance, you would:

  • Design your vision to allow for multiple opportunities for success
  • Notice when you are pushing and when you allowing things to unfold as needed
  • You build in points of reflection, learning, innovation and curiosity exploration
  • You allow the best of yourself as a leader to shine through
  • You allow your team to operate at their best by coaching them powerfully

Giving a bit more space to the process and allowing during the journey actually becomes a powerful practice for you as a leader.  The Practice of Allowing can help you get out of the do-push-do cycle and build in better thinking and action along the way.

When you allow more, you will begin to relax into what is truly occuring for yourself and your team rather than the push of what you thought should happen.  Something then shifts, and you become more open to new ideas and actions.

I have a client who really wanted to play a bigger game in her role, but found herself hiding out. She noticed that she wasn’t really showing up fully and participating in the Leadership Team meetings. She held back her opinions and flew under the radar. But she wasn’t content with obscurity; she had innovative ideas and longed to share them. She wanted to uplevel her contribution to the leadership team and be an active, productive, and valued member.

But, as we all know, when there’s something we really want there is a built-in risk. My client didn’t want to risk being judged, being shut down. She had already been in that position as the only woman on her leadership team and wasn’t eager to revisit it.

It’s hard to get past that fear. But through our work, she was able to get aligned around her uplevel--when she began to believe that she really could contribute more--she started to allow it to happen. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of work but she finally found a new energy around her goal. She relaxed into herself and her uplevel, and decided to really show up to leadership team meetings. No more hiding.

With The Practice of Allowing, she was able to contribute more and share her ideas, and her colleagues became more open to hearing them. She started getting support from her team. And when people voiced objections or challenged her, she used curiosity instead of retreating into herself. She stopped feeling shut down and was able to respond more effectively to opposition. This was huge for her! And a delight to watch. Allowing her uplevel to happen influenced every area of her life.  

Are you ready to explore how you can incorporate The Practice of Allowing?    

Leadership Uplevel Practice

Think about an uplevel you’d like to create for yourself, your team or your company.

Take a moment and build out your vision for it.  What does success look like?  How are you acting as a leader?  What is your team doing?  What opportunities for innovation exist?

Now, notice if you really believe it can happen?

Begin using The Practice of Allowing to generate more space and curiosity for it to happen.  If you allowed it to happen (v. pushing), what would you do right now, in the next 24 hours?

If you’re like my client and want to uplevel your contribution and ideas, what would you do today? Perhaps you would set up a meeting with someone. Write an article. Speak out in a group discussion. Talk with a partner about your feelings. Think about it. What would you do differently? What would be different? Where would you stop holding back?

Let me know how this practice goes for you!