Leaders: Don't just stand there, share something!
November 4, 2011
Director, Quidam Global
TopicsCollaborate, Communication, contributing members, Leadership, Teamwork
Sharing is a kindergarten concept, isn’t it? We just don’t talk about it that much in the serious corporate world or we might sound new-agey. So I hope this post will bring it back big time, beginning with you! What if you wrote it in your schedule: “Share something?" It can mean a number of things, but just so you don’t forget each day, have it penned in and notice how it brings up ideas you hadn’t thought about. Get creative on how to share.
Here’s a few that several leaders I am working with did the first week of consciously sharing.
Share what you know.
Especially relevant for entrepreneurs running growing companies single-handedly, but really useful for anyone who would like to stay upwardly or outwardly mobile with regard to their current position. The point is, the only reason you get swamped with work is because you are not delegating and it will be hard to do that, even when you really would like to, if nobody knows how to do what you do. So choose a core competency of your position and purposefully share the experience of doing it with a worthy apprentice. You might be surprised by the results and both will grow in the process.
Share what you have.
Get rid of the clutter at home of course, but also in the office. Is there any object that no longer serves you or your team? Could someone else really use it? The powerful message and overall well being created by generosity is never as clear as when we let go of a physical object. That file cabinet we no longer put anything into. That plant that looks beautiful but is now in the way each time we walk in. Thinking of sharing will make it about more than just getting rid of the thing, it will make clear that you think of others and their needs, inviting your team to do the same.
Share your collective time.
Such a precious resource time is, especially nowadays, but let’s talk about our collective time. As a leader you and your team may together use time in creative ways. It can be overwhelming to take care of some time-consuming business if it’s one person that needs to get it done, but what about all of you? If each pitches in for half an hour a day the chore becomes easy, collectively simple. And the message of collaboration spreads quickly. You might find time-sharing to be a bit addictive once the team gets the hang of it. The same principle can apply to community work you might want to get involved in as a team.
Share your point of view.
A client I had was always thinking things about his colleague’s work. But the culture of the organization was slanted towards respect for the lines between areas. So he listened politely and kept his mouth shut. One day, as he was doing precisely that, it dawned on him that he hadn’t shared yet. He turned to his colleague and said: “I would like to share my point of view with you, if that’s alright.” It was not only alright, but made way for a great conversation both about the issue at hand and about the unspoken rule of not expressing differing views in the workplace.
Share the sharing.
One leader took it a step further. She shared the practice of sharing with her team and asked each of them to share once a day. Then they shared once a week - with each other - the things they’d been sharing. It became momentous. This particular leader felt she needed to bring on a new project to re-energize her stressed out collaborators, but it seemed like a logistical impossibility because they were already understaffed and overworked. The Sharing Experiment, as she called it, created a space for reflection that didn’t create more work, just different ways of interpreting it.
Anything else you can think of? Come on, don’t be shy, share a little. You comments are welcome here, but beware: they might be shared, too!
Great point, Monica, about not just throwing this out, but passing it on… sharing it. Sharing any of the items you outline is an act of generosity. Sharing exemplifies our role as character based leaders. Thank for sharing! Jon
Generosity is such a noticeable character-trait! When it is present, it spreads like wildfire and leaders who exhibit it are as attractive as can be for people to follow. Thanks for your comment
Love your post and the actionable suggestions you presented. My take-away… sharing is simple and effective, let’s all do more of it… we will be pleasantly surprised at what we learn about others and ourselves.
Couldn’t wish for a better take-away for readers! Thank you so much, Sonia.
What a great way of putting it – sharing is important and we should all do more of it, starting with leaders setting an example.
True, Simon. And a strong example that is!
I have a song based on Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten running through my head. Sharing is truly underutilized and underrated! I especially love Share the Sharing – storytelling fortunately continues to gain more and more traction as an approach to fueling positive change.
I would love to hear that song someday! And I agree, storytelling is so powerful. Just this morning I was watching a TED TALK on the subject: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elif_shafak_the_politics_of_fiction.html