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It’s been a week of travel (grateful to be able to travel again), and a jam-packed week of meetings with some incredible leaders. Sitting at the table and discussing ideas with these awesome innovators got me thinking: Leadership isn’t a “you versus your team members” scenario. Leadership is an “us” scenario, always.

On an empowered team, leaders understand the weight and clarity of their respective roles in the team. There is no one person who carries the burden of execution alone; everyone contributes to the overall success of the organization. When structured properly, leadership becomes cyclical. In other words, leaders generate leaders.
There are four key components to this type of leadership environment:

1. Responsibility – All leaders follow through on their commitments.

2. Ownership – All leaders feel like they have an important influence on the positive trajectory of the team and business.

3. Trust – All leaders believe in the capability, follow-through, knowledge, skills and honesty of their team members.

4. Accountability – All leaders apply equal discipline in the execution of their commitments.

When you enact a leaders-generate-leaders model in your organization, you create shared responsibility, shared ownership, shared accountability (though accountability is inherently shared) and shared trust. Individuals do not feel like silo-ed people working without cohesion but as a member of a synchronized team working in tandem to achieve their goals. This is the essence of productive collaboration. Team members help set the standards and agree to meet (and often, exceed) them.

This model also empowers every member of your team with a hearty sense of self-worth. They will believe that, at any given time, if they are asked to step up, they can become the most pivotal team player on your roster. They can take the work that the team has already put into motion and lead everyone to victory.

Decentralizing leadership is the new way of leading. The traditional model, where one leader commanded every detail of every initiative, no longer applies to a world that’s highly connected in sophisticated and complex ways. A team working in true synchronicity can deliver an incredible competitive advantage. This kind of team will embody a culture of mutual responsibility, accountability, ownership and understanding. This kind of team creates a tight-knit, strong organization impenetrable to unexpected changes, and adaptable to fresh ideas.

However, this decentralized model only works if the leader gives their team members certain tools to succeed, including precise goals that are well-defined, enough resources to accomplish those goals and a time frame (“From X to Y by When”) during which the goal must be completed.

So, what’s the message? Good leaders lead. Great leaders generate new leaders who can lead with mutual intent. These kinds of leaders empower their team members to be the very best they can be, then step out of the way and let them use their full potential to accomplish anything.

This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.