Does this resonate to you at all?
Now close your eyes and take few moments to think about when the last time this experience occurred to you was. What was the circumstance, what made it so unique, what was the idea/ vision/ dream that led you into that magic frame? What have you experienced inside your heart and soul that made you tremble and hold your breath for few seconds?
Done it? How did remembering make you feel? I bet that you have experienced one or more of the following, while picturing in your mind the compelling vision: you started smiling and your facial muscles relaxed, you felt butterflies in your stomach, you experienced the creeps of excitement, or you might have even almost moved to tears. Well, envisioning that dream coming true has such a powerful impact at an emotional level that it actually mobilizes incredible energies. That very passion has the force of the four natural elements all together, because when we really believe in the vision, when we can clearly draw the accomplishment of the goal with our mind-eye, and see ourselves as we have already reached our target, then nothing can stop us.
Now, take a moment to consider how powerful this gets when it’s not just our own idea/ vision/ dream, when there are others joining us and really buying into that same vision, and start owning it, believing in it, breathing into it and pushing towards the same direction to get there. All together. Because that same dream is meaningful, linked to profoundly felt values, and it fulfills our human desire of contributing to something bigger than ourselves as single individuals.
We are social animals, we live in herd and we function as part of organized groups. We need others to survive not only at a psychological level. When a group of individuals comes together as a team, the differences in capabilities, skills and attitudes make the whole stronger, more productive and able to achieve greater and more ambitious results. Furthermore, when a group of individuals comes together as a team focusing on a common heart-felt shared vision, unparalleled successes can truly be achieved.
But what really set successful teams apart from not so successful teams? Think about sport teams aiming for the world cup, or about teams of volunteers working to rescue human lives during a natural catastrophe. Or think about organizational teams eager to commit and work around the clock to achieve the shared goal. Ok, you got to have within the team the skills, the abilities, the knowledge and the experience needed to perform the task (whether it’s physical or cognitive, or both). However, what else does it really make the difference?
In my experience working with teams in different types of organizational settings and cultural environments, the real differentiator is what pull all the individuals together in the same direction, transforming the team in something that goes beyond the simple sum of its parts. That fire that gets ignited by an authentic leader able to earn hearts, minds and souls of the team members, above and beyond their hands, their skills and their knowledge. A leader who is authentically connected with her inner values, who is not afraid to show her emotions and passions, and who is able to admit when she makes mistakes, who asks for feedback and listen genuinely in order to act upon it and improve. A leader who is more interested in growing other leaders, recognizing others and giving them credit, more that getting recognition for herself. A leader who uses the word “us” more than “I” when it comes to appreciation and great results, and who holds herself accountable when things go not so very well. And above all, a leader who believes in the abilities of her teammates and is capable of empowering each team member by connecting the common vision with each individual’s vision and values.
Who is such a leader? Is she always the one in charge of the team results? Or does anyone of us have the leadership ability of inspiring others, driving results through the shared vision and aligned values underneath it? Teams achieve extraordinary results because of this very energy, drive and fire coming from knowing that each one is contributing to transform the vision / dream into reality. Every day people do amazing things in organizations, in communities and in society. It happens every time we go beyond our ego and share, contribute and support. It happens every day, when we, ordinary people, demonstrate leadership with our actions, inspire others to do the same and give their best, for the benefit of the whole.
In my opinion everyone can be a leader, not only the one “in charge” of the team. I feel it’s a honorable responsibility to live our days giving our best and supporting others doing the best.
What are your thoughts?