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Leadership is Evolving. Are You?

Think of your latest project…

Chances are, it increasingly involves leaders from across your organization and across generations. If you are a member of an executive team or partner in a professional firm, work in a cross-functional team, lead Millennials, serve on a board, or participate in M&As and startups, you are among a group of leaders.

This demonstrates that leadership is evolving from hierarchical leading to leader-ship, which I define to be a ship or container of leaders. 

While leadership used to be associated with solo command and control, research indicates that high functioning teams now contain a group of leaders who make it work.

In light of this shift, leadership now centers around how to lead leaders. How does a captain lead a ship of captains? How do leaders lead each other?

Often we exalt collaboration as the hallmark of leadership and teamwork (and for good reason). Yet collaboration is rooted in co-labor, an antiquated Industrial Age principle and practice.

Rather, what’s emerging to address the evolving challenge of leader-ship in spiraling complexity and torrid rate of change in the Digital Age.

Derived from spontaneity (meaning natural and genuine in the moment of action) and simultaneous (meaning two or more seemingly opposite actions at the same time), Simultaneity™ means two or more natural, genuine, and seemingly opposite actions at the same time.

Where shared collaboration involves situational leadership where a leader leads OR follows in response to the situation, Simultaneity™ is a process in which leaders lead AND follow at the same time. When leaders follow as they lead and lead as they follow, teamwork evolves to team flow or organic creativity with in sync execution, which is just what the constant flux of the Digital Age demands.

So you might ask, “How do I lead and follow at the same time?” In the simplest of terms: practice the competency of inspiring others to bring a curious conviction. Below is an exercise for you to explore this competency in more depth.

Your comments, challenges and questions are welcome; future blogs unpacking Simultaneity™ will be inspired by them.

Let’s evolve leader-ship together!


Curious Conviction Exercise

Scenario: A women executive is exasperated by the feedback that she was “too aggressive.” However, when she was more laid back, she was criticized for being “too submissive.”

Practice: Today in your meetings or conversations I invite you to notice when you show up with conviction (aggressiveness) then when you show up with curiosity (laid back). When do you show up with both assertiveness and passivity, as a broadcaster and receptor? How might you do more of this?

Note: No right or wrong here it depends upon the situation. And the more we show up with a curious conviction the more we create conditions for collective flow.


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