Getting everyone on the same page—that is, creating unity of thought and opinion—is a concept that’s highly valued by many leaders. It’s widely thought to make teams more productive and creative. But in my years of experience, that connection is far from reliable. If anything, just the opposite applies: getting everyone on the same page does more harm than good.
The idea behind this “same page” fixation is that a unified team culture is superior. And that’s true to a limited degree—for example, a sense of shared purpose lends strength to any team. But when you don’t invite and accept differences you weaken creativity, you decrease innovation, and you reduce individuality.
When you try to make everyone think alike, work alike, and believe alike, you weaken and demotivate the talented and skilled people you’ve hired. You may think you’re building a team, but in reality you’re undermining them.
Don’t allow yourself to be lured into the “everybody on the same page” trap. Instead, commit to the kind of leadership that builds unity through diversity on your team, by doing the following:
Appreciate each person for who they are, not who you want them to be. Recognition is motivating, and great leaders appreciate their people for who they are. Instead of trying to mold them into an image of what you want them to be, learn to appreciate their authentic selves, their individual backgrounds, and their capabilities. A solid mix of talents makes for stronger teams and more innovative organizations. Being appreciated for their true self is incredibly uplifting for any employee.
Identify individual’s strengths and push boundaries. Get to know each individual person’s strengths, then motivate and inspire them to raise their own standards. When you believe in people they will do what they can to come through for you. Work to understand, encourage, and develop your team members’ skills and potential.
Invite each to contribute and collaborate in notable ways: Too often leaders feel threatened by their people’s capabilities and talents and may even work to suppress them. But encouraging people to excel at what they do best is the soul of leadership—and it leads to great results. Maximizing and meshing talents is how projects get done seamlessly. It’s how you meet deadlines and develop innovative solutions. Collaboration is what teams are built to do.
Have everyone own their leadership. Work to have everyone find ways to step up and show leadership at some point. Start by assigning them leadership over small projects involving a handful of people. When you do, you build not only a team but a team of leaders—inspiring growth and helping your people advance. Leaders aren’t born, they’re made when you allow them to own their identity and capabilities.
Great companies, leaders and managers all focus on collaboration and on developing each person’s capacities and having them bring their individual gifts to the collective effort.
Lead from within: People who come together create progress, and succeed together, but it takes a diverse group to make it happen.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
THE LEADERSHIP GAP
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.