Let Go & Lead
Meg Wheatley Author
Co-Founder of the Berkana Institute

Letting go of ego (3:46)

How does one become a great host, what are the elements of that?

The first is the shifting in your ego. It’s the shrinking of your ego. It’s a shrinking of thinking that I’m the best. I’m the brightest. I’m the most creative. I have the most vision. I’m the most entrepreneurial and innovative and to just let go of that stuff; which is just really confining and blinding to other people’s potential. So the first shift is, again going back to how much I believe and trust other people, do I believe that these people in my organization are capable of being creative, entrepreneurial, innovative and that they will be motivated by the work itself and the meaning of the work itself. Making a contribution rather than any pay for performance or reward system that I create. So that’s the first shift. You really have to realize that you’re not master of the universe.

Don’t you think some of it too, is setting your sites higher than you can achieve yourself? It seems to me that one of the keys is having higher expectations than what you alone can accomplish.

Oh, right? Now increasingly leaders are facing the reality of not knowing what to do and not, not being able to feel confident about the future. And, and so again that’s a fork in the road so when you’re faced with uncertainty and your faced with confusion and you’re faced with just the dynamics that are prevalent in this society now, including fear and anxiety. Um then the first question is, so where am I going to look for answers? Where am I going to look for possibility rather than all of this negativity that’s coming at me? And, the answer for me is very simple, we turn to one another. And we really start to work in ways where we can know that we’re in this together. You know, you keep hearing the phrase these days; we’re all in this together.

But we really need to take that seriously. That is the solution. People in my experience (because I’ve worked in a lot of places that are just devastated. Either, you know, in Southern Africa economically or after natural disasters)…People can get through anything as long as we’re together. So the first is: it’s lonely at the top. It’s impossible at the top if you don’t engage other people and not just to the senior level team.

When you have a highly participative workforce you have collective intelligence. That’s one of the newer words that is out there. You have the wisdom of crowds. You have the wisdom that’s only available when people are engaged very actively in solving their own problems and bringing information in from multiple perspectives. So, you get the intelligence that’s only available when people are working together collectively. It’s not singular additive intelligence. Even though that would be a plus right now if it reaches that intelligence of a few more people contributing. But you get collective intelligence, which is a wonderful, wonderful gift that life gives us.