In social dancing, when I'm following, I always try to achieve whatever move the lead is telling me to do with their cues. If I have a "hiccup," I find myself asking the lead, "What did you mean by that?" Or "What did you mean for me to do there?" I assume that if I don't achieve what was desired, it is my fault.
A few months ago, I was dancing at a local salsa venue. After the third apology of the night, my lead said to me, "Don't apologize. A cue is simply an invitation. You don't have to accept it." My mind was blown. I had the perception that a cue was a direction that had to be followed. What would it mean if cues were simply invitations?
For one thing, less apologizing. Perhaps I would feel freer. Perhaps I would find moments to improvise. In another sense, this mindset reduces the male dominance associated with partner dances, because the lead (usually a man) doesn't have to be obeyed.
So what if all direction were an invitation? What if we always had the option to decide whether to do the movement, change it, or simply improvise? How might that impact leaders? How might that impact teams? How might that impact individual accountability?
I invite you to direct less and invite more... worry less and dance freer in work and life.