Great Leaders Know This Word: Together
Wise leaders bring others with them and genuinely believe that working together, alongside others is the only way to greatness. They don’t position themselves above everyone else, like some medieval king, issuing orders and judgments from their high throne. True leaders desire to scale mountains with others.
A stellar example of a leader exemplifying togetherness is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., locking hands with his fellow civil rights leaders and supporters, and marching forward. Have you seen one of those black and white videos? Together, yet leading the way. Sometimes he could be seen up front. Other times, he was not. But his marches and his peaceful movement was always an endeavor of togetherness.
As you lead your people forward, remember that people will want to come along if they feel a part of the journey. If you go it alone, your followers always behind you in the distance, neither of you will get very far. Moreover, it is much sweeter, richer, and more meaningful to go together. Here is how together is communicated, and the way it looks and works.
Together says, “I value your effort.”
When you tell your people, “together we will make this happen,” you are positioning yourself to be with them in whatever battle you are facing. Therefore, you create an equal footing with your team, where each person has a role to contribute. Each plays a unique part that you, as the leader, value. I don’t know about you, but I like to be valued by the leaders I follow. I want to know that my time and my contribution matter. I want to know that I am not inconsequential, irrelevant, or disposable. Living out a together culture, communicates that you value your people’s efforts.
Together says, “I value your thinking.”
Do you value your people’s thinking? Do you credit them for their ideas and their views? Do you respect and listen to them? If a leader does not have time for my thoughts, we are really not going together. That leader thinks he knows it all, and I am just a mere hand. I insist that my teams think with me. Every week, I meet with each person on my team, and after I update them as to what is going on, I ask several questions that communicate that I value their thinking. Because I do. I ask, “In what areas do we need to improve as a team?” I ask, “What are your thoughts about that person we interviewed?” I even ask questions about areas that I am comfortable and confident to decide alone. But I don’t want to decide alone. Because we are marching forward together.
Together asks, “Will you come with me?”
Leadership must start with a gentle question, “Will you come with me?” Respecting the will of others is the hallmark of a together culture. In bringing people along, you should never demand, “you must come with me.” As you share the vision, and ask others to shape it, your expression to them should always be, “I would love for you to come with me. Would you?” When leaders venture to great places together, in my mind’s eye I see a group of willing people, freely joining in a march for glory. I see a group that joined together because one person or several people decided to go somewhere worthwhile and invited others to come along with them.
Together says, “I appreciate you.”
Leaders who only go forward in a culture of togetherness, lay their head to sleep at night feeling so grateful for those who have given them their trust and their hearts and decided to join them on the journey. A culture of togetherness centers around appreciating each other. After all, if the journey involves everyone, then everyone must be appreciated.
Together releases the strength of others.
When a person knows that the leader truly needs them, that they are valued as a partner, each person starts seeking to give their best. People contribute their best because their best is needed, and it is appreciated. Team members don’t hold back. Talents and gifts are manifested. As a result, boundless energy and potential is released. This symphony of togetherness celebrates the strengths each player adds.
Together makes the journey more meaningful.
I love nothing more than to accomplish a great goal with my team. I see them beaming because of what we’ve achieved together. All of a sudden, we each feel like a bigger person—more confident, more able, and more alive. If you are not energized by this bond that teams feel when they go amazing places together, I don’t think you can truly excel at leadership. If your leadership is only about your personal success, your achievement, or your winning, prospering, and accomplishing, then your leadership will never rise above a positional status. Positional leadership means people only do things for you because of your rank. Great leaders refuse to make it all about themselves. Rather they choose a more meaningful path, together.
Together takes the journey farther.
The majority of the greatest successes and the farthest reaches in the history of leadership happened when people came together. It only makes sense. When people feel valued and appreciated, they willingly give their best consistently , and each member truly wants the team to reach its dreams. How could a group of people not go far when they are working together?
Examine your leadership today. How can you make it even more of a together journey?
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