I’ve been fortunate in my work to have the opportunity to work with Emerging Leaders, great people who are about to become Leaders and Managers for the first time in their careers or people who have recently become Leaders for the first time in their careers. Some of those Emerging Leaders are extroverts, and some are introverts. I hope you find value in today’s blog… The world always needs more Leaders…
Stuck In The Middle
Some people are, like me, ambiverts, who straddle the middle and have both extrovert and introvert tendencies within them. I decided it was time to provide some useful lessons to introverts because, too often, their introverted habits lead to difficulty in playing their leadership game at the highest level. This is not to say that introverts cannot lead, usually, they are fantastic leaders that just need a little boost before they excel.
There’s No ‘I’ In Extrovert
Remember this: you cannot get where you need to go by yourself as an introvert, so don’t even try. I’ve noticed that many of us as introverts prefer to work independently. Frequently, we close our door and dig deeply into our reports, our communications, our emails, and our decision making, all by ourselves. While there is nothing inherently wrong with working independently from time to time, it will not work very well if it is your ONLY approach. As we begin to become Leaders and Managers, we increasingly find that we are measured not just on our OWN work, but often on the work we are able to influence through others. While there is an “I” in introvert, there is no “I” in extrovert. This is what makes developing your team game so very important, there is no “I” in team either. Unless you master the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with others, you are going to be isolated as a lone wolf and your prospects for promotion will be hampered.
Don’t Do It Alone
No person is an island. In my view, nobody is good enough to go it alone and still be able to reach the pinnacle. To get to the pinnacle, you have to bring others with you and learn to elevate your game collectively. There is a great parable that originated in Africa. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That parable is just dripping with truth and authenticity. Don’t forget that you are far better when you leverage the people around you to influence your energy, creativity, and innovation in solving problems. Research proves that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams, and homogenous teams outperform very strong individuals. Face it, if you want to go the distance, you would be wise to learn to make teamwork a priority and begin surrounding yourself with a diverse team of people who can teach you a few things and bring out the best in you on a consistent basis. Compared to trying to figure it all out alone, there really is no comparison. Going together is a much better strategy.
Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
Teamwork will bring out the best in you. Have you ever noticed how smart you get when you’re surrounded by other smart people who challenge you to raise the level of your game? Teamwork enables brainstorming and energizes the entire team to strive higher and to innovate faster. In today’s global knowledge-based service economy, it is expected that you will bring outstanding teamwork and collaborative skills to the table. Develop them immediately, if you have not yet made them a priority. How do you do that, you ask? Read on.
How can you build trust and start a business relationship with someone? First of all, you must go first and demonstrate that you are willing to get outside of your comfort zone and take some risks by being vulnerable to another person. You don’t have to possess all of the answers, you just have to be willing to pursue them and be worthy of trust. Open up and communicate with others about what you are trying to accomplish and how you’d like them to join your cause. Let the other people know that you want to connect and that you want to build a mutually beneficial relationship over time. Demonstrate that you are willing to trust by trusting the other person, and you are on your way.
Each of us needs to think about our relationships with other people almost like the relationship is a bank account. You want relationships so that you can contribute to and help others. You also, rightly so, would like to expect that they will one day help you or contribute to your cause. If the relationship is like a bank account, you have to first get in the habit of making deposits into it, so that there will be a positive balance. Find ways to invest in other people and make early deposits into their accounts by creating value for them. Recommend a great book, refer them an important business contact, help them to solve one of their most challenging problems… you get the idea, right? If you’ve made consistent deposits into the bank account and one day you need a favor, there will be a positive balance allowing you to make a withdrawal by asking for the favor. What if you’ve made no deposits? Will you be able to ask for the favor? Of course not. It’s important to go first and set a great example by making early deposits in others. Trust me, then they will want to reciprocate.
Teams become stronger when more members of the team are investing in, and making deposits in the other members of the team. By going first, and modeling the behavior that you want from the team, you start a positive perpetual motion machine in motion. You’ll warmly invite people to join the team and making investments in one another. You’ll help solve or settle conflicts that come up among the members of the team. You’ll encourage the team to dialog and get to an understanding of how the team can win when everyone on the team helps one another to win. You’ll paint a picture for the team of a win/win/win situation where everyone shares in the success of the team and collaborates together to discover how to take the team’s performance to higher levels over time. People will buy in because YOU’VE bought in.
The best part about working together collaboratively as a team is open to debate. Some feel the biggest benefit is that everyone performs at a higher level. Some people believe the biggest win is that everyone learns from one another. My personal belief is that the best aspect of teamwork and collaboration is the culture that is built. People want to win. When they win together, it is somewhat intoxicating. There is a real buzz involved in winning together consistently. When you’ve been a part of a high performing team that wins regularly, your confidence soars and your body chemistry begins to crave the buzz that goes along with winning together. I hope that one day soon you are feeling that buzz. It’s a very good feeling!
So, get out of your comfort zone and begin to step into another’s shoes and learn to experience the world from the perspective of another teammate. Invest in that person and help them to get what they want, so that they will want to invest in helping you to get what you want. The power of collaboration and human cooperation is a very heady brew and you will find it absolutely intoxicating and habit-forming if you are wise enough to create the conditions that make it happen around you. What’s keeping you from taking the first step? You can do it, and I hope that you will today…
Talk To A Coach
Michael is an award-winning executive development coach and business advisor to fast-growth, high-technology companies around the United States. If you’d like to have a transformative conversation with Michael about creating some teamwork in your organization, or if you’d like to hear more about Michael’s proven methodology to develop brilliant leaders for growing companies, contact us today for a free consultation. You may also want to follow Michael on LinkedIn and Twitter and subscribe to his outstanding YouTube channel, Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting. Here’s hoping that today’s lesson helps to motivate you to take your game to an entirely different level when it comes to building relationships and collaborating with others.