Let’s outline a few career stunting facts, starting with, I didn’t always play well with others, particularly when it came to my peers in the workplace. I was a late bloomer when it came to maturity in this area and is certainly something I’m not proud of, along with many other hiccups and what I call boot-in-mouth moments throughout my leadership journey. These became catalysts for a massive shift in the way I lead, not to mention being the inspiration behind this brand. I now happily share my lessons and the difference they made for me when I finally acknowledged the value of true leadership and expanding your tribe.
I created my 12 Leadership Lessons because they were what I needed way back when, when I was a budding and fledgling leader who didn’t have a clue about the collateral people damage I was creating. These lessons stack, they go in tandem, and you have to follow them through, because leadership is not a title, it’s a way of being. And one thing that is definitely ongoing in leadership is building and expanding your tribe, which will serve you in countless ways in your organizational results and your leadership growth. Plus, it’s way more fun to WE than to me! #BetterTogether
Lesson 11 – Expand Your Tribe
Let’s start with what didn’t serve me, shall we? Obviously, I wasn’t perfect in this area, nor was I very open. At times I could be cocky, defensive, protective, even combative, truly unbecoming leadership behaviors. And yes, there were times when I played win-lose with my peers. Talk about ridiculous. I had the wrong mindset to say the least when it came to my idea of peer-to-peer relationships. My viewpoint was I wasn’t at work to make friends. I was there to get the job done, lead my team, serve our customers, maximize performance of our assets, blah, blah, blah. This is all baloney. Expanding your tribe is mission critical to maximizing all of those – and more – desired outcomes. I wasn’t focused on expanding my tribe or sharing any secrets of my team’s success. I was thinking small and still competing, versus contributing. It goes without saying that I missed some opportunities due to this attitude – not just with my peers, but I’m sure also with a few of my bosses’ peers, the leaders outside of my vertical reporting line.
When you fail to expand your tribe and opt instead to keep only a select few members in your pipeline, it limits your potential. This ultimately impacts your team and organization’s health and performance. Additionally, it doesn’t encourage cross-pollination of team talent. For years, I watched peers earn promotions and move up quickly. They had expanded their spheres of influence and had built a bench of people who could readily move into their roles. Which in turn opened up opportunities for growth for themselves and others.
It’s sad but true that there are many organizations who either unintentionally or intentionally encourage and reward internal competitiveness, breeding a win-lose culture, versus a “better together” approach. It is your responsibility as a leader to teach your team how to treat their peers and share the value and power of collaboration. Even if you find yourself in a win-lose culture, where that ethos rather than a people-fueled one is coming down from the top, you still have the power to create a musketeer mentality, as I call it, on your teams within the team.
Focus on building community, expanding relationships, contributing to the development of others, and not just with your reporting peeps. By doing this, you not only build collective competence, you foster greater connections and esteem for one another. You may even create an environment where other leaders and teams in the organization look at what you’re doing and say, I want to have that with my people.
That, my fellow leaders, makes us even more valuable to our organizations and that is badass leadership in practice!
When we cultivate one another – I can’t even begin to describe the staggering impact this has on customer experiences, team development, revenue potential, operational effectiveness and organizational agility. It is a massive multiplier! #Cha-Ching #ExpandYourTribe