Early last week I gave an interview and chose the topic of “white knuckle leadership”. As I prepared for the interview, I was reminded of many times throughout life where I held on for dear life, whether it was professionally or personally.
Imagine the visual of clenching your fists so tight that your knuckles turn white. It’s not a pleasant feeling yet many of us use this practice often and some often live their lives in perpetual white knuckle-ness. Why do we hold on so tight and why are we so afraid of letting go? That remains one of the mysteries of human nature yet when you drill down the idea of it all, fear seems to be at the core of the need for that level of control.
Have you ever had an interaction where the other person was so rigid almost setting up rules at every turn? You have to wonder what happened to this person that they couldn’t let go of the weight they have been carrying; as though the rigidity really protects them? NOT!! It typically does the opposite when we hold onto control with the intensity of white knuckles clenched so tight. I recently interacted with someone earlier in my career and found the individual was so controlled, so rigid that the egg shells I had to walk around to make sure that every word was perfect truly exhausted me by the end of the interaction. When I clicked send on the final email of information, I was relieved to be complete. My heart really went out for the person because that sense of closing a door really closed off so much more opportunity for joy. And, as usual, the universe always taps me on the shoulder as if to say stay clear as this person’s behavior is about them. Being around people who hang onto their control as though it were a badge of honor is when I look for the exit quickly.
So that white-knuckling stuff? If you find yourself leading within your organization with white knuckles, cut it out. This behavior will make you more tired, less creative and just a pain in the neck to be around.
Think about it…..an open hand feels good, is ready to receive and let’s in possibility. The clenched fist is closed, tight and ready to do battle. So free yourself and relax them white knuckles and be open for the goodness of the universe.