Some people relish their power, getting a kick out of dominating and controlling others. Fortunately, there are not too many real megalomaniacs around, suggesting that other reasons drive most people to restrict and control those they lead. I suspect one of the biggest culprits is fear, especially the fear of failure and being seen as a loser.
“The greatest human disease is control – if we feared less and allowed more – who knows what we could achieve?”
We have created a society where to fail is to be a loser, and no one wants to be one of those. We are intolerant of failure and do all that we can to improve, develop and rectify in our drive for perfection. We are bombarded with role models who have succeeded and encouraged to buy the secrets of their success. Positive thinking is a virtue.
Given that most humans have the instincts of the herd, it takes quite a lot of courage to step outside society’s norms and take the risk of failing. Yet people who are prepared to take a risk and do this, albeit a measured one, are exactly what we need in these difficult times. Leaders who can tolerate failure and understand it is the price of growth are even more valuable. I am not suggesting recklessness here, just a change in mind-set.
I believe that although we are all connected we still have our individual paths to tread. The richness and variety of life can only come if we are allowed to follow and explore the landscape we occupy. Unfortunately, most businesses and organisations aren’t set up for explorers. So we dutifully learn our roles and follow the rules. We work in an efficient business, generating profits as predicted, but what does it do for our well-being? What are we really capable of?
I could list the steps you should take (seven is usually a good number) to create an environment for human exploration, but I would be depriving you of the opportunity to work it out for yourself. I would also be depriving you of the opportunity to try something new, get it wrong and learn from your mistakes. When you do get it right, the achievement of working it through is so much sweeter; the understanding you have of the issues is so much deeper and the knowledge you can share with others is so much greater.
There is nothing in wrong in learning from others – otherwise nothing would get done. For each of us though, there are moments when we know instinctively that we have to put the work in and figure out our own path. In doing so, we make our contribution to the world and add our unique piece of learning. What would life be like if we were encouraged and allowed to do this?
I therefore call on all Conscious Leaders to provide the incubation necessary for people to make mistakes and grow. You could look at the ways you control the people in your organisation and wonder what things would be like if you broke some of the chains. You would be serving their interests, your business’s interests and your touch might ignite something you couldn’t possibly imagine.