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It takes a village

Feb

16

2011

It takes a village

Remember the 1996 book by Hillary Clinton titled It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us? One main idea of Clinton’s book was that it takes more than a parent to nurture children who thrive and ultimately contribute to society.

The village idea can translate to your growth as a leader too. Leadership development achieves the greatest impact when your village – your boss, peers, direct reports and other key stakeholders –  is involved in the process. John Barrett, Humanergy’s co-founder knows: You get the most value out of your development when you make yourself a team project.

Consider these six benefits to using a team or network to help you develop as a leader. You will:

Know more. No one knows it all. We have different backgrounds, skill sets, experiences and perspectives. Leverage your team to increase your wisdom by broadening and deepening your thinking.

Have greater courage, strength, humility and forgiveness. Asking for help exercises all four of these leadership necessities. You’ll also model positive behavior by asking for help, which may encourage others to do the same.

Get realistic feedback. The feedback you give yourself may be skewed and incomplete. While you probably consider yourself to be self-aware (know thyself, right?), according to the Johari Window, there are always areas of yourself you do not know or cannot see, and that only others know.

Be grateful you’re not alone. When you have a team to share in your successes and failures, it magnifies your wins, minimizes your losses and is simply more enjoyable.

Have increased accountability and support. Human nature suggests that people who make promises are more likely to keep them than when they only set goals. Promises have more emotional and personal resonance than to-dos. Not only that, you can’t beat public accountability for ensuring that you’ll do what you say you will.

Be visible to future opportunities. As you develop your leadership savvy, your network will notice. Your teammates will vouch for your readiness to receive a promotion, lead a unique project or be a candidate for a special assignment.

Ready to grow as a leader? Make a list of the key stakeholders in your network—people who have an important stake in your success. Bring together both fans and those who don’t always agree with you. “We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t” (Frank A. Clark).

Your village can support your development and hold you accountable to leadership growth. Ask them to help you in meaningful ways that won’t be a burden. Also be prepared to do the same for others around you. You will create a supportive network that reveals the best in each other.

Have a question about this topic or want some input from Humanergy? Contact us!

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng


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Comments (1)

  1. Agree with all the positives. But teams also require more work, more commitment, more honesty, more openness, and more personal exposure. Team work is not, or should not, be about suppressing or stifling individuality. There is much to learn in being a good team member. The benefits will no doubt exceed any of the costs, particularly if the individual differences in performance and contributions are well understood and respected.

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