Blog: Modern leadership is a team sport, big egos need no longer apply

September 14, 2016

Timo Bruns

One of my previous work experiences include working in a startup with only 4 people. Many good and not so good stories I could tell, but my most vivid experience is about how we never used the word ‘I’ in any context when we worked. As with many startups where speed is fast and control is often good enough but at times less than it should have been, we made many mistakes along the way. And that’s fine, you are supposed to, and fail fast to succeed sooner is a great modus operandi as you constantly make adjustments and keep the momentum going.

When one of us did something great, it was always ‘we’. When someone stumbled and made a mistake it was never ‘me’ or ‘you’, but always ‘we’, regardless of what had happened and who had done it. This taught me one of the most valuable leadership principles that I try to pass on – when you lead, never rise above others, but always act as a team.

This principle is becoming more and more prevalent each day as workforce is gradually getting younger and old school ways of working no longer work. Telling is out, convincing and selling is in. As part of this principle it is crucial that people in the organization get to define their own work, adding motivation and energy way beyond what because I say so can accomplish. More and more of the work definition needs to be shifted to teams, yet at the same time we should not lose sight of the big picture, i.e. strategy, giving us the overall direction and meaning to our work.

Striking a balance between the ‘plan’ and the ‘doing’, called the execution gap, can and often will be the Achilles heel of executing the strategy, and this is where Leadership Automation tools (LATO) can help. With LATO you can make a clear division of labor between defining the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, enabling the right kind of energy to allow the teamwork to flourish and at the same time downsizing the egos so they stop shadowing others.

If you managed to read this far then do get in touch with us to find out how LATO can put the word ‘team’ into your leadership game!