If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down. This idea is an adaptation from Toni Morrison’s novel “Song of Solomon.” 

Hear more from Larry Summers on the past and future of the global economy at Dreamforce.

And that concept is one the best leaders understand. You have to give up control. You cannot fly otherwise. But there is also an art to giving up control. Here are three steps to help you soar.

At the same time, only one in five (19%) of those same decision makers reported a decrease in productivity since moving to remote work.

So why don’t decision makers trust employees to get the work done even when productivity isn’t declining?

It’s a bit unnatural for many of us to give up control. But it’s much easier to do when there’s trust between two people. 

Summers told Dreamforce attendees about the trusting relationship he developed with Sheryl Sandberg, who recently stepped down as chief operating officer of Meta. Summers mentored Sandberg when she served as chief of staff for the U.S. Treasury Department under President Clinton. In exchange for his trust and prioritization, Sandberg made his success her top priority. 

“She expected me – and I was happy and honored to do everything – to help her advance her career,” said Summers. In return, she did everything she could to help Summers become a better leader. “She did as good a job as she could at the moment and not just on her way to a rosy future.”

Sandberg was loyal to Summers when dealing with third parties, and represented Summers’ point of view. “Behind closed doors, she didn’t hesitate to tell me I was full of shit,” said Summers. “That was enormously valuable.” 

Use the five principles of inclusive leadership to create a culture of equality at work.

When your team’s purpose, initiatives, and strategies are set, it’s much easier to give up that urge to control your team. 

I met her mom. We played ping pong with her husband. It was a totally different level of connectedness that you never would have thought of.

Summers also shared the three questions he always starts with when setting a strategy.  

“Our CFO hosted us in Vermont, in her she-shed,” Sud said in a Dreamforce session. “I met her mom. We played ping pong with her husband. It was a totally different level of connectedness that you never would have thought of if you were prescribing the typical office.” 

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For larger, global team meetings and updates, Vimeo is using video asynchronously (instead of meeting live, which can exclude people in distant time zones).

Sud explained that “instead of scheduling a meeting where you have all these different time zones and someone has to get up at 7 a.m. and someone has to stay up until 9 p.m. and then if you miss the meeting, it’s a 3-hour QVR, and then you’re expecting someone to watch the recording. Nobody ever is going to do that.” 

Now, the company is experimenting with using its own tools so that someone can send out a presentation asynchronously, for example. That way, she said, no one has to attend a meeting at a specific time.  

It’s not always easy to relinquish control. But to become a better leader, you can start by building a foundation of trust, aligning on a strategic vision, and innovating your approach. 

Tune in to hear Nextdoor CEO Sara Friar and other leaders discuss how to lead with empathy and use your platform to change the world.

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