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The Art of Letting Go: Shifting from Ego-Drive to Co-Drive Leadership



As leaders, we often start our careers with a strong focus on speed and energy. We strive to achieve more, faster, and better than anyone else. We rely on our "ego-drive" to propel us forward and make a name for ourselves. However, as we progress in our careers, we come to realize that there's a limit to how much we can achieve alone. We need to rely on others, to work with them, and to empower them to achieve their full potential. This shift from ego-drive to co-drive leadership is a crucial step in our professional growth and development.


Today we will explore the main points of this transition and provide specific examples to help you understand and implement them in your own leadership journey.


From Energetic to Energizing


As leaders, we often start out as energetic and charismatic individuals who set the pace for our teams. We work tirelessly to inspire and motivate our colleagues, often relying on our own energy and enthusiasm to drive results. However, as we move towards co-drive leadership, we need to shift our focus from being energetic to being energizing. Instead of being the source of energy, we need to create an environment where our team members can generate their own energy and motivation.


For example, a CEO of a startup might start out by being the driving force behind the company's vision and strategy. However, as the company grows, they need to transition from being the sole energizer to empowering their team members to take ownership of their work and drive their own initiatives. This can be achieved by providing opportunities for professional development, encouraging collaboration, and recognizing and celebrating individual and team achievements.


From Delegating to Allowing Congregation


As leaders, we often delegate tasks to our team members, expecting them to execute them to the best of their abilities. However, as we transition to co-drive leadership, we need to move away from delegating and towards allowing congregation. Instead of dictating tasks, we need to create an environment where our team members can come together, share ideas, and collaborate on projects.


For example, a manager of a marketing team might start out by assigning specific tasks to each team member. However, as they transition to co-drive leadership, they might create cross-functional teams that work together to develop marketing campaigns. They might also encourage team members to share their ideas and collaborate on projects, rather than simply following orders.


From Pushing Harder to Letting Go


As leaders, we often focus on pushing ourselves and our teams harder to achieve better results. However, as we transition to co-drive leadership, we need to shift our focus from pushing harder to letting go. Instead of trying to control every aspect of our work, we need to trust our team members to take ownership of their work and empower them to make decisions.


For example, a project manager might start out by micromanaging every aspect of a project. However, as they transition to co-drive leadership, they might focus on providing guidance and support, rather than trying to control every detail. They might also empower their team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work, rather than needing to approve every step of the way.


Creating an Environment that Allows for Congregation and Collaboration Among Team Members


Creating an environment that fosters congregation and collaboration among team members is an excellent way to promote growth, innovation, and productivity within an organization.


First and foremost, leaders must establish a culture of trust and respect. Team members must feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions without fear of reprisal or ridicule. Leaders can facilitate this by being approachable, open-minded, and receptive to feedback.


Secondly, leaders must encourage communication and the sharing of ideas. This can be achieved through regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and casual gatherings. Leaders should also consider implementing an open-door policy, where team members can drop by their office at any time to discuss their thoughts and ideas.


Thirdly, leaders must provide opportunities for team members to work together on projects. This can be done by creating cross-functional teams, hosting workshops, and organizing team-building activities. By working together, team members can learn from one another, build relationships, and develop a sense of camaraderie.


Fourthly, leaders must embrace diversity and inclusivity. A diverse and inclusive workplace fosters a sense of belonging, which in turn promotes collaboration and teamwork. Leaders should strive to create a work environment that is welcoming and accepting of all employees, regardless of their background, race, gender, or sexual orientation.


Lastly, leaders must lead by example. They must demonstrate the behaviors and attitudes they wish to see in their team members. By being approachable, collaborative, and open-minded, leaders can inspire their team members to do the same.


Creating an environment that fosters congregation and collaboration among team members requires a combination of trust, communication, opportunity, diversity, and leadership by example. By following these principles, leaders can create a workplace where team members feel valued, motivated, and empowered to achieve their full potential.


Conclusion


Shifting from ego-drive to co-drive leadership is a crucial step in our professional growth and development. By moving away from relying solely on our own energy and enthusiasm and towards empowering our team members, we can achieve greater results and create a more collaborative and motivated work environment. It's not an easy transition, but with practice, patience, and a willingness to let go, we can become more effective leaders who inspire and empower others to achieve their full potential.

 

Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.



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