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A while ago I was lucky enough to get involved in a leadership development centre. It was where a light is shone on your personality and behaviours from several different directions. Your strengths and development areas are then correlated from the findings. I really enjoyed the experience and put a lot of effort into the areas identified for improvement.

I was sharing the results with a friend recently and talking enthusiastically about how I thought I had developed in certain areas. Whilst in others I was still a work in progress despite my best efforts. Reflecting on my frustration at not being able to improve in all areas, I said that perhaps I just need to relax and let it happen.

I think there is a massive point here that I am only just coming to terms with – the balance between making it happen and letting it happen.

The generally accepted rule is that winners make it happen whilst losers let it happen. Phrases like “no pain, no gain” and “dare to win” reinforce this point. As I wrote about in a previous post (What do I do now?) I really believe that taking responsibility, not waiting for others to give you permission is a key trait of any leader. Setting goals and delivering targets is how we show ourselves at their best.

There is another level, as I’m coming to realise – when to relax and just let things happen. Sometimes it may be better to stop trying so hard and let the results emerge. Perhaps the issue is timing or letting others have the time they need to get used to a new way of thinking. But sometimes, you just need to create the space for change to flow. Stephen Covey has this great phrase that with people “slow is fast and fast is slow”. I couldn’t agree more.

So the next time you find yourself looking for something new. Think about how you can make it happen, but also how you can let it happen!

About the song:

Joy Division / New Order / Electronic and the various other spin-offs play a massive part in my music collection. This song is the opening track on the Twisted Tenderness album that for me best displays the individual talents of Messrs Sumner and Marr. Not as synth based as their first couple of albums, the wah-wah guitars really drive this track home for me then give way to a great melody. Definitely worth 7:44 minutes of anyone’s time in my humble opinion!