Byron's Babbles

What Can We Create Together?

Whether you are the president of a company or the janitor, the moment you step from independence into interdependence in any capacity, you step into a leadership role. You are in a position of influencing other people. And the habit of effective interpersonal leadership is to develop a win-win mindset. Creating a community where win-win attitudes and behaviors is important work of leaders. So we need to focus on producing personal and organizational excellence by developing information and reward systems which reinforce the value of cooperation. We can develop this community by asking the question “What can we create together?” Remember, I now call the organizations, schools, or businesses we lead, the places we live, or even our families communities.

Unfortunately, most of us have been deeply scripted in the win-lose mentality since birth. Certainly there is a place for win-lose thinking in truly competitive and low-trust situations. But most of life is not a competition. We don’t have to live each day competing with our spouse, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors, and our friends. In Lesson #38, “Only One Winner,” in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader, author John Parker Stewart points out we should “Replace internal competition with mutually beneficial and encouraging cooperation.” Most of life is an interdependent, not an independent, reality. Most results you want depend on cooperation between you and others. And the win-lose mentality is dysfunctional and detrimental to that cooperation and development of community. Community offers the promise of belonging and calls for us to acknowledge our interdependence.

The challenge for building a win-win community is this: While visions, plans, and committed top leadership are important, even essential, no clear vision, nor detailed plan, nor committed group leaders have the power to bring this image of the future into existence without the continued engagement and involvement of citizens. To do this I challenge you to as a leader help your community answer the question “What do we want to create together?”

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