Leadership happens in interaction with others.
At its best, the sparks it creates come from an excited place of “Yes, and”.
At its worst, sparks are flying because people rub up against each other without any interest in each other’s ideas or respect for what the others bring to the table.
Instead of focusing all of our attention on what makes a great leader, we prefer to think of leadership as creating the best possible space for productive interactions.
That space of leadership has to be co-created by all who interact.
Think of colours on a canvas when you reflect on how leadership shows up in your team, and where you want to take it. It is powerful when a leader openly shares the goal to co-create an appreciative space where all support each other to grow beyond who they can be, and what they can achieve, on their own. Such a powerful intention creates momentum and encourages people to take responsibility for what they contribute to their work and relationships.
It’s a game changer.
You might wonder: What are productive interactions?
For us, they are interactions in which participants produce results that elevate everyone: where everyone stays true to their values, aligns around a shared vision, and produces sparks of creativity as ideas and perspectives are exchanged, which leads everyone to committed action.
“How can I get them to follow my lead?”
This question comes up again and again in our leadership trainings and coaching.
Getting others’ commitment is notoriously hard at the workplace, when unable or unwilling to use authority to make them grudingly comply. And the good news is that many leaders do not want to use their authority to get others to do what’s necessary. Instead they seek to learn how to engender commitment behind a shared vision.
How committed are you?
So how can you engage others and get their commitment to your vision? First of all: Do you have a vision? If you cannot pin it down, you are not alone. There is no shame in not having a clear vision. Many never ask themselves this question. Leaders do. And those who lead with vision, inspire others to follow their lead in order to build something that inspires them. So ask yourself:
What’s the vision behind your invitation to follow your lead?
Your vision for yourself, your team, your company?
To what end do you do your work?
Fundamentally, why does it matter? Why is it important that you lead?
A bold vision has the power to engage others in doing their very best.
A bold vision has the power to keep a ship afloat in a terrible storm.
A vision is what has everyone keep the destination in sight, when their heads are down in the nitty gritty of less exciting daily tasks, and when sparks of disagreement fill the space with murkiness. Values are what drives behaviour, and has people look at things from one perspective and not another. And it is vital to understand when people feel valued, and when they don’t, which in turn is connected to their feeling that their values are honoured, or not.
What values do you stand for?
Sharing your bold vision and clearly communicating your core values clearly to your team, combined with an invitation to them to share their own visions and values is what creates a game changing leadership space. Working towards understanding what connects everyone to your company on a deeper level than a paycheck, creates commitment. It also raises relationships to a new level, as people start understanding each other better and why they occasionally bump up against each other’s words and attitudes!
What’s more: It builds leaderful organisations from bottom to top.
It takes committed leaders to lead committed teams.