Co-leading seems to go against the culture of the individualist strain of celebrity CEO’s and the myths that surround them, however, in reality none of us do anything alone. We need the help of others, we need their partnership to accomplish so much more that we can alone.
I have had the privilege of co-leading with a colleague who has now become a good friend. Where we worked, it is called a dyad – two working as one. We are as different as we can be and that was a good thing! He is East Coast, I am Southern; I like strategizing and planning, he acts and gets things done quickly; sometimes details are not that important to me, he masters details; I am more introverted and intuitive and he is extroverted and likes dealing with facts. We balanced each other well, got more done together than we could have individually, and best of all forged a new friendship.
“We don’t lead alone. We lead with others. The days of the ‘Great Man’ theory of Leadership – where one sole leader rules over the masses from their ivory tower, are long gone.
Some of us quite literally lead with another person – we co-lead a project, a team, or an organization with a peer. A study by Pearce and Sims (2002), published in Group Dynamics, found that shared leadership is a useful predictor of team effectiveness. Other research suggests shared leadership can also lead to greater team interaction, increased collaboration and coordination, as well as novel and more innovative solutions. But while co-leadership can be energizing and rewarding, if the relationship isn’t strong, the arrangement can easily become draining and frustrating.”
Check it out – it is worth your time in my opinion.
One thing I learned at AE was the value of collaboration and that it was often fiery and unpleasant; full of conflict with strong and intelligent people going at it over an idea. But the beautiful thing was that they weren’t trying to win an argument – they were trying to find the best solution for the problem at hand. It had nothing to do with their relationships / friendships – it was about doing their very best – as a team – to arrive at the best solution.
Having worked with hundreds of managers over the years, I’ve seen that very few admit to being poor collaborators, mostly because they mistake their cooperativeness for being collaborative. And indeed, most managers are cooperative, friendly, and willing to share information — but what they lack is the ability and flexibility to align their goals and resources with others in real time. Sometimes this starts at the top of the organization when senior leaders don’t fully synchronize their strategies and performance measures with each other. More often, however, the collaboration challenge resides with department heads, product leaders, and major initiative managers who need to get everyone on the same page – and shouldn’t wait for senior executives to force the issue for them.
Collaboration is hard work, but necessary if you want your organization to rise above being mediocre.
This is an excellent article from Harvard Business Review that illustrates how important it is for you to take responsibility for your career and job security. Here are the first two paragraphs from the article:
Mark was a survivor. Until he was fired in 2012, six months shy of his 50thbirthday, he’d done everything right — rising through the ranks of the book publishing industry, from editorial assistant to associate editor to senior editor, then into management as an editor-in-chief. But as e-books and Amazon destabilized the industry, and waves of consolidation contracted available jobs, Mark (not his real name) admits today that he hadn’t “paid attention to the writing on the wall.” He confessed that he’d spent the 18 months prior to being fired living in denial as his team was reorganized. “Despite that,” he says, “I clung to my job rather than start thinking about how to leave. At that point, I couldn’t conceive of a life outside of the confines of corporate publishing, of not being at the center of the club I’d been a part of — and a star in — since the age of 21.”
Mark’s story is a cautionary tale for us all. In my experience, Mark’s kind of wishful thinking — that things will sort themselves out on their own — rarely works out. Not taking action has costs that can be as consequential as taking risks; it’s simply less natural to calculate and pay attention to the “what-ifs” of inaction. In today’s marketplace, where jobs and job categories are being destroyed and invented at an accelerating rate, I’d argue that the riskiest move one can make is to assume that your industry or job is secure. Just ask former employees of Countrywide, British Petroleum, or Newsweek if you doubt me. Former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, Patty McCord, says that companies should stop lying to people about their job security, because there’s simply no such thing.
You have to be actively managing your career and not leave that to others – in the nonprofit world just as much as in the for profit world.
Meetings are a challenge to say the least. We need them (at least the right meetings) to do our work, but we do them so poorly that we mostly detest them! So often if feels like a no-win scenario. However, it doesn’t have to be this way at all.
1. First the question – “Are you addicted to meetings?” Great question!
2. Shorten the meeting times. Don’t default to an hour “just because” or because it’d the default setting on your Outlook
3. Create a focused agenda
4. Limit attendees to who absolutely needs to be there
5. Stay on track!
6. Manage the attendees – don’t allow one or two people to dominate
7. Set the right tone
8. Define next steps and responsibilities
Some good points here and several echo what Patrick Lencioni has written. Meetings are an important part of work. Doing meetings well is an important leader and manager skill and well worth you learning how to do them well!!
In a study, over 10,000 Army officers were tracked from their entrance into West Point until well into their careers. The findings were surprising. Read the following paragraph from the article:
“As one might predict, we found that those with internal, intrinsic motives performed better than those with external, instrumental rationales for their service — a common finding in studies of motivation. We were surprised to find, however, that those with both internal and external rationales proved to be worse investments as leaders than those with fewer, but predominantly internal, motivations. Adding external motives didn’t make leaders perform better — additional motivations reduced the selection to top leadership by more than 20%. Thus, external motivations, even atop strong internal motivations, were leadership poison.” [emphasis added]
“Motivating” leaders with external incentives is actually poison to a person’s development – interesting. Now read this paragraph:
“One of the longstanding dichotomies in the field of leader development is whether to teach leadership as skills that lead to higher performance (a competency-based model that is relatively easy to metric), or to teach leadership as a complex moral relationship between the leader and the led (a values-based model that is challenging to metric). Our study demonstrates that those who lead primarily from values-based motivations, which are inherently internal, outperform those who lead with additional instrumental outcomes and rewards.” [emphasis added]
The bottom line is the internal “WHY” of leaders, their own internal motivation is what really matters. So, the logical conclusion to me is that the beginning of a leader development process in your organization is learning how to determine the people who have a strong internal motivation to lead and are not motivated by extrinsic rewards. I like the summary statement of the article:
“If you aspire to lead in business or society, first ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to be a leader?’ The answer to that question, as it turns out, will make a significant difference in how well you lead.”
So, what is motivating you to lead? What is your WHY?
The Harvard Business Review website has an excellent article on Boards, The Boardroom’s Quiet Revolution, that will be well worth your while to read if you are involved with boards. While aimed at for-profit boards, the principles apply to non-profit boards as well in my opinion. Following is the executive summary:
In the past 10 years, under pressure from shareholders, stock exchanges, and state and federal governments, corporate boards have changed dramatically. For example, regulations require that a majority of directors be independent; independent directors regularly meet in executive sessions without the CEO; shareholders can review decisions by the compensation committee; and directors are required to attend meetings more often. But externally driven reforms have proved rather ineffectual when it comes to improving boards’ managerial oversight. The authors interviewed two dozen directors from the boards they most admire and coupled the directors’ insights with their own broad experience leading, serving on, and counseling boards. They present some striking innovations in four main categories: strategy and talent oversight, board composition, the quality of board discussions, and the board’s relationship with the CEO. These innovations can help boards dramatically improve the governance of their enterprises.
Hopefully this will cause you to look at your board a little differently.
Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang, who is also a cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip, gave the staff at Ctrip’s call center the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.