Co-leadership: A Theory that Sounds Good but Doesn’t Deliver

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Let me re-phrase: I’ve never seen co-leadership achieve its intended objective. Theoretically, if two is more than one, then co-leadership should deliver twice as much value as single leadership. In my experience, dual leadership sometimes produces less than one. Why does co-leadership not deliver when the theory sounds so attractive?

Why Co-Leadership Doesn’t Work

In many cases, co-leadership is set up for failure from its start. Co-leadership by its design means co-responsibility, and yet, co-leaders rarely take the time to discuss co-leadership objectives, boundaries, responsibilities, decision-making, accountability, and deliverables. These areas need to be defined, discussed, and decided between the co-leads; otherwise, one or both leaders will believe he or she is doing more than a fair share, which can then lead to feeling:

  • overwhelmed for having an increased workload
  • resentful for not getting fair credit or that the other is getting more credit than deserved
  • unproductive because of wasting time circling back to bring the other up-to-speed
  • stifled for not being able to make timely decisions
  • frustrated in the communication process and slowness in achieving goals

A co-leadership structure can make leaders feel less empowered

Ideally, co-leaders should have complementary, not similar gifts, so that leadership has a breadth of strengths to lead a team. What happens, more often than not, is that co-leads share similar talents, and tension results when each feels he or she cannot lead in their gifting without checking in with the other.

Resentment can easily build when one co-lead is pulled toward a priority outside of the team and leaves the other lead with the same accountability and more responsibility. Co-leads are more likely to become distracted, because they know they have a co-lead who can pick up the slack. The second co-lead may or may not have time to pick up the extra work. What happens next?

Over time the team notices a fraction in the co-leadership. Teams are emotionally and mentally attuned to the unity of their leadership. In some ways, teams are like families. When children sense their parents aren’t united, each aligns with one parent more than the other based on personality, similar views, and loyalty. The team naturally starts to split into subgroups in which energy is pulled away from the task and wasted on unhealthy team dynamics. When allowed to play out long enough, one co-lead typically emerges as the single leader, so why waste precious time and resources setting co-leadership up for failure.

When Co-Leadership Works

As mentioned, I’ve never seen co-leadership work, which then begs the question: how could co-leadership work well. In my opinion, co-leadership might be a viable choice when two very different teams or cultures need alignment and co-leadership serves as continuity. For co-leadership to work, the co-leaders should have complementary skills and clearly defined co-leadership responsibilities, boundaries, and decision-making power, which should then be communicated with the rest of the team so there is no confusion.

Co-leadership is a tall task even for the seasoned leader. Before considering co-leadership, define the compelling reason and payout.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: How to Get Comfortable with Difficult Conversations

difficult conversationsSheila Heen said it well at Global Leadership Summit when she said, “Your leadership is defined by your ability to have difficult conversations.” How many times do you shy away from conflict, rationalize away what you want to say, or intentionally avoid the tough talk? You are not alone if you said anything but never. Most people struggle with difficult conversations, but the most respected leaders get comfortable in saying things that need to be said.

Heen describes the types of conversations that challenge us: (1) standing up for oneself, (2) disappointing someone, (3) working across cultures, (4) telling a boss they may be wrong, and (5) helping peers with their self-awareness. When we’re in a difficult conversation, three questions drive the direction of our story are:

  • Who’s right?
  • Who’s fault is it?
  • Why is this person acting this way?

Difficult conversations are challenging, because our identity is at stake, and we may not know what to do with our feelings. How can we approach difficult conversations? Heen suggests shelving those three questions and finding answers to:

  • What is this conversation about? Why do we see this so differently?
  • What did we each contribute to the situation?
  • How can I separate intentions from impact? What impact am I worried about?

As a leadership coach, I frequently work with clients on communication strategies and conflict resolution skills. I encourage people to understand the other person’s worldview and values that drive decision-making. People are not irrational; they make decisions based on what makes sense within their worldview.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Are You Playing a Finite or Infinite Game?

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Simon Sinek challenged leaders to think about the type of game they’re playing. Do you play a finite game with defined players, fixed rules, and definition of how the game comes to an end? Or, would you like to play an infinite game, where people play to continue playing, rules change, and winning is just a moment in time defined by who’s ahead or behind. When a business decides to play an infinite game, Simon provides key truths on how to stay winning. Infinite game players have:

  1. A just cause
  2. Trusting teams
  3. A worthy rival
  4. Existential flexibility
  5. The courage to lead

Does your business have one, two, or all of the infinite game characteristics? Read on for how Sinek expands on each fundamental characteristic.

A Just Cause

A vision statement for a positive business must be resilient to culture and technology change. A change in technology should not wipe out a company. A vision should be inclusive to anyone who wants to contribute. Its primary benefit should be for others and not the contributor. Although they will benefit from a successful enterprise, the vision should not be to serve the shareholders. How many times have you read a vision statement that includes “…enabling value creation and attractive returns to our shareholders”?

Trusting Teams

Trusting teams believe they can be themselves and their best selves. Leaders ask how they can create an environment where people are comfortable being vulnerable in their weaknesses. Trusting teams ask for help and know others have their back.

Worthy Rival

A business playing an infinite game welcomes worthy rivals, because they push and make a company better. Think of a rival as the pacer in a race. Tactical rivals help businesses improve their products and services.

Existential Flexibility

Will you blow up your business when the business model no longer works? Companies with existential flexibility will do what it takes to stay in the infinite game. Are you prepared to cannibalize your own sales?

The Courage to Lead

When pressures are overwhelming for short-term profits, do you have the courage to live out the first four characteristics?

My Leadership Thoughts

If you can say you’re mastering the five infinite characteristics and winning in your business or profession, don’t stop there! What about the rest of life? What does it mean to have an infinite life? An infinite marriage? An infinite fill in the blank? Human life is finite, because it has an end. However, life is more meaningful when you play it as an infinite game.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: What’s Your CQ?

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What’s your CQ? Before answering, you may ask, “What’s CQ?” David Livermore refers to CQ as Cultural Intelligence—the capability to work and relate effectively in culturally diverse situations. With curiosity a foundational characteristic of CQ leaders, their cultural intelligence can be measured on four dimensions:

  • CQ Drive: level of interest, persistence, and degree to which one can explain a situation from the other’s point of view
  • CQ Knowledge: understanding how cultures are similar and different; overcoming the natural tendency to see what we want to see and ignore other information
  • CQ Strategy: awareness and ability to plan for multicultural interactions; sketch out an interaction plan
  • CQ Action: ability to adapt when relating and working in multicultural situations

The most important dimension is CQ Action.  All the drive, knowledge, and strategy will have no value unless it’s applied. Many people focus on creating diversity, assuming it will lead to innovation, but the existence of diversity itself doesn’t create innovation. Livermore asserts that innovation is created when diversity is multiplied with CQ.

In my opinion, Culture Intelligence is a leader’s must have competency. Not only is business a global enterprise, but cultural diversity sits in the local office. I would encourage everyone to evaluate their CQ across all dimensions and develop improvement goals that would result in greater CQ Action.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Rasmus Ankersen’s Leadership Points on Complacency

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Where is Nokia now? At one point it owned nearly 50% of the global smartphone market share. What happened? Did they get complacent? At Global Leadership Summit, Rasmus Ankersen shared several leadership points that may challenge your beliefs in what contributes to success and the role complacency has in business outcomes.

  1. Companies keep themselves relevant and fresh by keeping complacency out. When an organization becomes successful, its fight isn’t necessarily with its competitors but with itself to remain relevant. Sandi asks,Are you fighting complacency? If not, should you be?”
  2. Outcome Bias: The assumption that good results are always the outcome of good decisions and performance, and “everyone” gets what they deserve. Sandi asks, “Are you overconfident in what contributes to your results?”
  3. Success has a huge amount of randomness. Luck is turned into genius when leaders mistakenly confuse good market conditions for good leadership. Sandi asks, “Are you confusing your abilities with luck?”
  4. Never blindly trust success. Treat success with the same skepticism as failure. Sandi asks, “Are you questioning how you became successful? If not, should you?”
  5. A performance center should not be designed for comfort but for hard work. When organizations become successful, sometimes comfort becomes more important than improvement. Sandi asks, “How comfortable is your office environment?”
  6. When organizations become forces in their industry, they should rethink their purpose. By expanding their world, they will make themselves smaller. Sandi asks, “How can you redefine your market or competition in a way that makes you seem smaller?”

Fighting self-complacency when you’re a large competitor in your industry is difficult. Think about AT&T who hesitated to make the transition into cellular telecommunication. If they hadn’t bought Cingular Wireless when they did, they might have ended up like Nokia. My leadership challenge is to “lean into the discomfort,” and never assume you’re as good as you think you are. A heavy spoonful of humility will keep your mind sharp.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Leadership Authenticity

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Carla Harris, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, spoke on a leader’s leverage, efficiency, authenticity, decisiveness & diversity, and engagement. One of my top five core values is authenticity, so I was all ears when Carla Harris took the podium at Global Leadership Summit. She had this to share about the power of authenticity:

  • Authenticity is at the heart of a leader’s power.
  • Most people are not comfortable in their own skin. When they do see someone who is comfortable, they gravitate toward that and trust you.
  • Your authenticity is your distinctive competitive advantage.
  • Spend time understanding who you are. Who are you when things get tough? Who are you when things get easy? You can’t bring your authentic self to the table if you don’t know who you are?
  • Relax and meet people where they are. When you’re authentic it’s easy to do so.
  • If you bring your authentic self to the table, it will inspire others to bring theirs, and you will make an authentic connection.

I agree with Carla that people are genuinely attracted to authenticity, and yet, living out authenticity can require courage. Be courageous and see the power that authenticity has to draw people toward you and your mission.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Leadership Vision

Four years ago, I heard TD Jakes speak for the first time. He said, “If you can dream it and achieve it, it’s not God’s dream, because God doesn’t dream that small.” Regardless of faith, the take-away message for leaders is the dare to dream, dream big, and create a compelling vision to inspire and unite. TD Jakes and Strive Masiyiwa shared their thoughts on leadership vision during an interview at Global Leadership Summit 2018.

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  • Creating a vision should be frustrating and bring out the best in you.
  • Believe in vision beyond provision.
  • Dream so it scares you. When you are petrified you are electrified.
  • What stimulates growth is losing. Failing time is learning time.
  • Learn to fly by falling—think of eagle chicks kicked out of the nest by their parent.
  • Become a learner and respecter of world cultures.
  • Forever be the student and not the teacher in your circle of influence.
  • You can have a great idea but in the wrong place.
  • Everything takes longer to accomplish than you initially think.

In my opinion, when leaders create a “bring out the best” vision, it typically requires people with different cultural backgrounds to come together to achieve it. Not just sensitivity, but a true appreciation for the value of cultural differences will make the difference in how well the vision can be achieved.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Juliet Funt on Successful Leadership Behavior

Juliet Funt

Juliet Funt, the founder of “white space”, was back at Global Leadership Summit (GLS) to discuss three mortar-type behaviors used to secure the building bricks of technology, reorganization, and Lean Six Sigma that are driving toward operating simplicity. Companies must counter conformity, compulsivity in communication, and control within their organization to propel themselves into the future. What do each of these behaviors look like in practice?

Conformity

People tend to be followers, so nobody changes until everyone changes. Anything that bothers you at work is 50% your fault until you ask about it—the WhiteSpace 50/50 Rule. To break out of the conformity mindset, take a safe contrary action to reduce social conformity and see what happens.

Compulsivity

People need to ask themselves whether their communication is appropriate for the situation and delivered in the right format—rein in unnecessary communication by understanding whether content is 2D or 3D. Yes/no questions are 2D content which is appropriate for texts and email. 3D content is deep and nuanced and should only be communicated through conversations. Don’t mix the two contents and formats to ensure more effective communication.

You should also consider whether you need to ask or share information at that moment. If not, put it on a Yellow List that you create for each person you work with. When the list grows long enough, schedule time to discuss those items.

Control

Are you a control freak? One of the best strategies to break this tendency is to let people do and do nothing while they struggle or fail. Many people are comfortable with first-tier delegation, where they trust others and do not control them. Second-tier delegation is more difficult, because it requires providing the same amount of first-tier respect and control to someone you may not yet fully trust to do the job well. Second-tier delegation is required to grow people into first-tier delegates.

Leadership Application

In my opinion, conformity may be the single most influential behavior that limits growth. Leaders need to have a heighten awareness of how the drive for human conformity stifles creativity and innovation. Great leaders are humble and reflect on how their behaviors are impacting their teams. They can serve their organizations by encouraging ideation and rewarding risk.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Angel Ahrendt’s Leadership Thoughts

Angela Ahrendts

During her interview with John Maxwell, Angela Ahrendts had a few words to share about leadership through her own personal experiences at Apple Retail.

  • Understand your core values and live these out. They will be your strengths from which to lead.
  • When interviewing a candidate evaluate for four characteristics:
    • A “we” versus “me” perspective
    • EQ versus IQ
    • Cultural fit
    • A “tomorrow” versus “today” or “yesterday” mindset
  • Trust your intuition and how you feel about people.
  • Work on culture, because culture creates the brand.
  • When developing a brand ask:
    • Why are we doing it?
    • What is the deep purpose?
    • How are we going to do it?
  • How well people believe you care is directly related to how you make them feel.

In my opinion, branding must be both relevant to the times and inspirational toward the future. A brand should focus on how people feel about it and its purpose. What are you branding and how do people feel about it?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Craig Groeschel’s Leadership Message

Having just returned from a week in Bogota, Colombia, teaching, training, and discussing leadership in some of the poorest neighborhoods, I was refreshed by the speakers and their messages at Global Leadership Summit (GLS). GLS is one of my favorite annual leadership conferences, because a pool of talented global business and ministry leaders share their learnings and research on how to be a better leader.

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A major theme that resonated with me during this year’s 2-day event was the unabashed embrace of failure as part of a leader’s experience and growth. Many top speakers shared their vulnerable stories of personal failure, emphasizing how failure was part of the journey that grew them into the leadership role they had today. In my opinion, shining a light on failure and how it can be used as a tool for future leadership success was long overdue.

In these times, failure is deemed a sign of weakness. Many people wear the embroidered scarlet letter “F” not on their lapel but on their mind. People go to great lengths to diminish, excuse, deny or hide failure. Helicopter parents were born out of the fear that their children would fail. The sad truth is that failure is inevitable if you take any risk. How refreshing for some of today’s leaders like Danielle Strickland, David Livermore, Erwin McMannus, Danny Meyer, Carla Harris, and Angela Ahrendts to share powerful stories of failure and great success.

If you didn’t attend GLS 2018, be sure to sign up for next year’s summit, read what Craig Groeschel had to say about leadership, and stay tuned for more summaries of top leaders you missed this year.

  • Bosses believe they need to get better at technology and finances. On the other hand, polled direct reports say their bosses need to get better at leadership and emotional intelligence. Employees are more concerned with: (1) Where are you taking me? and (2) How are you treating me?
  • Great leaders steward power for the benefit of others, have profound humility by believing they can learn from others, and have furious resolve.
  • People follow leaders who value them, inspire them, and empower them.
    • Value people by saying, “I notice…” and “You matter…” Appreciate people more than you should by saying it, showing it, writing it, and celebrating it. Make people feel important.
    • Inspire employees by being a centered leader who is secure, stable, confident, fully engaged, purpose-driven, reflective in behaviors, has a mission, and lives out consistent values. The payoff is that inspired employees produce twice as much as satisfied ones. Employees may not know when they are working for a centered leader, but they sure know when they are not. Inspired people also want to work for a vision bigger than the business that can transform a job into a calling.
    • Empower people to unleash higher performance. You can have control or growth by you cannot have both. When you delegate tasks, you create followers, and when you delegate authority, you create leaders. Don’t put a lid on your employees. Leaders only make the decisions they can make and delegate all others to the organization. The best leaders make fewer and fewer decisions and frequently say, “You decide…” If you don’t trust your team you are either too controlling or you have the wrong people. Either way, the problem is yours to solve.
  • People look for a leader to be honest, have integrity, and be vulnerable. Great leaders have the courage to be real and transparent.

As you reflect on each of these key messages, which one could you improve upon most that would make a difference in your leadership capacity?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com