At Kadabra, our team has an unofficial mantra: “We’re better together.” I don’t remember who said it first, but every time we put our heads together to solve a problem, work on content, or do strategic planning, we affirm that we are certainly better together.
It’s more than the old adage that two heads are better than one. There’s a synergy that happens when we work together. It’s as if, together, we’re able to tap into a higher wisdom; like Napoleon Hill’s concept of the mastermind principle.
We are in unprecedented times. The types of leaders who will inspire us going forward are vastly different from the titans of enterprise in the early 1900s; the 21st century calls for new leadership. Despite the long-standing ethos of American rugged individualism, we are not meant to go it alone. It’s time to embrace the universal truth, often cited as an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
“Going fast” got us to this place of extractive capitalism and a planet on the verge of collapse (or at least our ability to survive on it).
In Wendy Ryan’s Book, Learn Lead Lift: How to Think, Act and Inspire Your Way to Greatness, she identified five behaviors for leaders to work on developing as they think and act their way to greatness: Focus, Integrity, Decisiveness, Authenticity, and Humility (FIDAH). Humility in particular supports our assertion that “we’re better together” as it relates to developing your leadership behaviors (Chapter 4).
We’ve identified three core concepts that support the ethos of “we’re better together.” They are:
- Humility: One of the key leadership behaviors identified in Learn Lead Lift, humility is behaving as though one is not better (nor worse) than any other person. When we are humble, we’re open to seeing the gifts that others have to share. Humble leaders think about WE, not I, as the primary unit for leadership. Humble leaders are far more effective than those with big egos.
- Expertise: Our expertise is the product of others sharing their wisdom with us. We don’t develop expertise in a vacuum; we are the sum of all the lessons of our teachers.
- Complementary excellence: Individual excellence emerges based on the needs of the group. For example, Heather Martinez is our Practice Leader for Design and Visualization. She’s a graphic facilitator, and we are constantly impressed with how much value she brings to a project or even a team meeting. Her value is amplified because her skill sets are unique within our team and her abilities add a depth and richness of learning to every meeting, whether they’re virtual or in person.
Live “We’re Better Together”
How can a person—and a team—practice living this mantra that “we’re better together”? It requires a dismantling of the American ethos of the rugged individual. Practicing humility requires a willingness to be vulnerable, to admit that you might not have all the answers. It requires a generosity of spirit: to actively invite the wisdom of others on the team and to be not only willing but eager to share the spotlight.
One simple but effective thing you can do is to set an intention each day to ask yourself, “How can I encourage others to share their wisdom and suggestions?” And then check in with yourself at the end of the day to assess how well you did that.
As Ryan says, “How you show up to others behaviorally as a leader is far more critical to your long-term success than your educational achievements, technical expertise or intellect.” Being humble allows you to show up for others in ways that support the success (and happiness) of the team. It truly allows you and your team to be “better together.”
If you’re ready start incorporating FIDAH leadership behaviors or simply want to be the best leader you can be, download our Self-Awareness Bundle to take the first step toward becoming a more impactful leader.