One of the most enduring memories from our training conferences is the illustration of the “one-man band,” from our mobilization session. The term refers to people that strap multiple musical instruments to their body and attempt to play several of them at the same time (and sing, sometimes). A good one-man band scores a 10 for entertainment, but even the best one will get a 5 at best for harmony. On the other hand, an actual band with multiply musicians can sound harmoniously beautiful when all players perform to the best of their abilities following a creative arrangement.
Leadership is not for One-man bands
Just like there are solo musicians, who focus on playing one instrument, there are some things that can be done with excellence by individuals. Leadership is certainly not one of them. Most would agree that working with groups of people (i.e. teams) is the best option for visionary leaders. Here is why – five benefits of working as a team that you will not achieve alone.
Creativity. If you have ever been in a brainstorming session, there is no need to explain this one. There is no such thing as a one-person brainstorming session. Often, there is a burst of creativity that can only happen when a group of people shares ideas around a common vision.
Risk-taking. Having a team of people to back up a person’s decisions gives each one the sense of security that facilitates risk-taking. Knowing the team “has your back” will gives you the freedom to risk new things.
Complementation. Specialists can do one thing with near-perfection. Generalists can do several things at a good or excellent level. However, nobody can do everything well. The best teams are those where one person’s weaknesses are covered by the strengths of other team members.
Perspective. Two different people can look at the same issue from totally different perspectives and come to completely different solutions. A healthy team capitalizes on these different perspectives to bring the best possible outcome.
Synergy. There is a famous illustration of draft horses, a particular type of strong horses bred for service. One of these amazing animals can pull as much as 4,000 pounds (1,800 Kg). Team up two horses together and you would expect them to pull 8,000 pounds, right? Actually, two draft horses can pull an amazing 12,000 pounds of cargo – three times as much as one horse. Strong and healthy teams accomplish together much more than the sum of the capacity of each member of the group.
Are you a one-person band trying to do everything by yourself or have you tapped into the power of building and leading a team that can accomplish the vision with you? I hope these five reasons have motivated you to build teams and be the best leader you can be.