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The Foundation of Leadership is Teamwork

Average Reading Time: 1 minutes 50 seconds

I believe that to be a great leader, we must first learn to be an amazing team player.

As I cast my mind back to the incredibly formative 11 months that I spent at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, this was a principle that was drummed into us again and again.

It’s a lesson that was taught formally and subliminally.

Throughout that time, we all adopted leadership positions in which we had to accomplish a particular war-gamed mission, whilst leading our peers. It became very apparent, very quickly, that individual success (passing the course) was hugely dependent on being a good team-member for our peers.

If we didn’t ‘play the game’ and support them when they were the designated leader, they would likely make our lives more difficult than it needed to be when we were the leader.

And whilst we may initially have learned this lesson partly in service of personal gain, we all learned quickly how important ‘teamship’ is to leadership.

As a result, I’m adamant that the very best leaders are the ultimate team players.

The reality is that leadership doesn’t bring more privilege and less work.

It brings more sacrifice and more work.

As we step into more senior positions, we are required to do even more to support those we have the privilege and responsibility to lead.

Whenever I draw an organisational chart, which is very rare these days, I always invert them. Instead of the typical pyramid, I flip it so that the broad base is at the top, with the point at the bottom.

Because this is where leaders belong.

Our position is at the bottom, being of service and acting in service of our team.

It’s our job to support them, to clear out obstacles, provide the right resources and enable them to deliver the results we’re accountable for.

My call to action is this… go back to your team and organisation and invert your organisational charts.

If you’re a senior leader, work with all your leaders and HR function to flip them.

If you’re in HR or a senior leader, speak to your MD or CEO about flipping them.

Feel free to share this article, better still, invite me in to talk (virtually) with your team.


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