Permission to Disrupt with Ensemble Leadership

Written by Amelia Terrapin

July 6, 2022

In my experience, one of the defining characteristics of an ensemble leader is that they are not seeking approval to implement new ideas, they are granting it. They have overcome enough of their own fear of failure and their need to be right to listen to the quiet voice inside that nudges them forward into uncharted territory. Ensemble leaders continuously grant permission to both themselves and others to disrupt the status quo in service of a powerful shared purpose.

Granting permission can look like modeling a new behavior, asking a thoughtful question, and encouraging creative risk-taking. This emanates from the core belief of the ensemble mindset that everyone has value to contribute regardless of their hierarchical position.

Often at the end of a Mobius training on the ensemble mindset, participants will say, “I’ve always thought that we should be prioritizing relationships, sharing power and inviting feedback. This training has given me the language and the imagery to feel confident doing that.” The wisdom of systems that I share in our trainings has given them permission to follow their gut.

This granting of permission can also flow upwards in a hierarchy; I have seen ensemble leaders make change through granting permission to those “above” them by modeling how to connect vulnerably, share power and take risks.

My favorite phenomenon is when members on a team start to grant each other permission. Essentially, the team becomes a permission-granting machine, inviting all they touch to disrupt the status quo while guided by a powerful shared purpose.

We can grant each other permission regardless of hierarchical position. When we stop exclusively looking upwards in the hierarchy, we can receive the perspective and inner wisdom of everyone around us. In other words, your team becomes an ensemble!

In what direction does permission flow in your culture? Top down only? In all directions?

What quiet voice inside could you give permission to today?

How could you grant permission to someone else on your team or in your life?

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