Grown up leadership is interdependent leadership. It’s leadership that is mature, robust and leveraged to the point that the members of your tribe know their best contribution, they do it, and champion the same from others. It’s equal parts humility and ego, ambition and submission, care and confrontation. It’s that beautiful tipping point where we realise we really are better together!
This is a bigger idea than ‘go fast go alone, go further go together’ This is a helpful starting point but the idea that we are able to carry a bigger load and enjoy greater leverage requires more from us as leaders and leadership teams. It calls out the independence and the self-orientation that we are prone to as humans, and to something more precious and beautiful that gets created by deeply investing ourselves in both the purpose we share and the people we work with. Truly magnificent. Joni Erikson Tada said it this way, “I have an interesting perspective on depending on others. I think it gives people a chance to serve. And I’m not so much big on independence, as I am on interdependence. I’m not talking about co-dependency, I’m talking about giving people the opportunity to practicing love with its sleeves rolled up.”
Love with sleeves rolled up. I’m in.
Adulting leadership requires two big commitments. Ownership and engagement. Ownership is a declaration about carrying the load while engagement is an expression of working in synergy. Like the inner workings of a quality watch. Each part contributing to the best of its ability to complete the finished work of time telling. Its ultimate purpose.
It plays out like this:
- Low ownership and low engagement gets you a silo. We work independently of one another.
- High ownership and low engagement gets you a swim-lane. We work alongside one another.
- Low ownership and high engagement gets you a party. We work with each other while its fun.
- High ownership and high engagement gets you a tribe. We work together for purpose and legacy.
The five-stage fix to a team that is working in silos, in its own lane, or just doing it while it’s fun, is an ongoing commitment to one discipline and four consistent steps. Think of it as your role as the leader to be IN the environment as well as ABOVE the environment and to intersect at the point of most need, and best contribution to the preferred future.
The One Discipline:
- Practice the discipline of rigorous reality checks. What’s really happening here right now?
The Four Steps:
- Correction – What must be fixed right here right now to be more synergistic?
- Communication – Who needs to know what, to be able to deepen their level of understanding and ownership?
- Conviction – What deep sense of ‘why’ will help us engage with more authenticity and depth?
- Context – Where does working with ownership and synergy serve our higher purpose?
I like how Peter Coyote said it. “Interdependence is a fact, it’s not an opinion.” Let’s be this.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.