When we think of a leader, we tend to think of one person. On their own.
And often we add on the impossible standard of:
They inspire us innately by their sheer brilliance. All by themselves.
They create a vision for the future that challenges the status quo and makes the world a better place. All by themselves.
They keep the cool in all situations, and can stay in flow effortlessly so they are always in the right state of mind to make good decisions. All by themselves.
Surely I’m not the only one to have ever held these unspoken impossible standards for leadership? We know it’s ridiculous, yet secretly, these thoughts are lurking in most of our minds.
No one has ever managed to do all of this on their own.
They have trusted advisors, mentors, friends, a partner, and pets, who love them and support them.
On the other hand, we all talk about how collaboration and teamwork is the key to high performance.
We need to work together to access our collective creativity, innovation, and greatness.
But if you’re supposed to have all the answers, by yourself, how can you effectively collaborate?
Won’t we just end up with people arguing their own point of view, trying to WIN the argument, standing their ground? Won’t our workplaces become combative arenas?
Why yes, yes they would.
That’s precisely what happens.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We’ve all also seen examples of leadership that is collaborative, where teams work together and collaborate. And it’s just wonderful.
Debate is welcome. Friction and frustration is part of the process of getting to a better place. There are no elephants in the room because everything is discussable.
Creativity flows. People aren’t attached to their specific idea because they’re busy co-creating and even better idea with others.
And it’s fun. So much fun.
So what’s the secret? What are they doing differently to create this?
For example, if we take two trainers leading a workshop (which is how I normally lead training and workshops). They co-lead and everyone benefits.
What makes it work is the ability of both people to be fully equal partners
- each being 100% present,
- each being 100% able to make decisions,
- and each being 100% able to give way and see what their co-lead is up to, see if it’s creating the result we want, and if not, to jump in and do something else instead. And if yes, jump in and support their co-lead.
Leading is collaborative, but we don’t always do it that way.
This post is part of my special Coaching Tips Series. This series was inspired by my clients and the core themes in their challenges. When we can apply these tips, we bring a lot of ease into our lives and step into our leadership. Want to talk it through with me? Call me and let’s make a Game Plan together.