Leadership Expectation: Promote Team MentalityThe dominant leadership paradigm in the United States is one in which few lead and everyone else is expected to follow. As we all know, this approach works in crisis moments, but for general operation, expecting everyone to be a follower will not result in a strong team. Part of building or re-building a team lies in our ability to promote the strengths of every team member in a way that shows each person how important they are to the team. When done successfully, everyone is a leader, and the team will flourish even when management is not physically present.
Here are the five core values of building a team where Everyone Leads:
Focus on Assets. Instead of focusing on what you think your team needs to get in order to be successful, focus on what assets they already have. Everyone is both “half-empty” and “half-full.” We all have strengths and areas for improvement. Recognize and leverage the untapped array of assets as the building blocks that make the foundation of your team.
Diversity and Inclusion. In addition to our differing strengths and areas for growth, we also have differing perspectives. Part of making the team strong is including these differences in the way we view the world. Welcome and encourage constructive disagreement and ensure those who have the courage to Speak Up are included and not socially ostracized for their discourse. It is too easy to hold those who are different to standards that differ from those with whom we agree. Honor AND include diverse people and points of view.
Collaboration. As our working styles assessment shows, we also differ in how we engage our work. Knowing ourselves (including our own strengths, weaknesses, and biases) teaches us how best to work with one another. Give introverts time to reflect and extroverts time to discuss. Hold neutral space for those who need time to process, especially when big decisions or changes are on the table.
Continuous Learning. Remember that “half-empty” part? We all have room to grow. Continually seeking new lessons in our everyday world ensures we are always learning. Being open to learning requires us to be truthful about our shortcomings. As leaders, developing these areas in others not only adds to their individual skillsets but strengthens the trust and solidarity of the team.
Integrity and Accountability. Integrity is being true to ourselves. Accountability is being true to one another. Leadership requires a strong inner core where our sense of purpose and values lie. If everyone leads, then the inner cores of all team members must be aligned in terms of the purpose and values of the team. Only then can we achieve the integration we need to truly be a high-functioning team where everyone leads.
Tip #8: Everyone has the potential to add value to our teams.
Schmitz, P. (2012). Everyone leads: Building leadership from the community up. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.