Recently I had a useful leadership lesson on the difference between an executive leader who relies upon their team for counsel versus leverages them for their individual skills. The former is about collaborating with the team on strategy and as a “team of advisors.” The latter is about using the specific function of an individual to exact an outcome.
Not a lot of imagination needs to come from a team of tools. Because you’re accessing them like they sit on a utility belt. And you better hope that you’re a master tool user — because the tools will only do what you make them do. And so your limitations are the tools limitations.
On the other hand, when you have a team of advisors you get unexpected thinking. Because it’s at an entirely different level — less about the specific execution, and more about the specific possibility (which will also include execution).
- A leader who believes they’re super smart, will tend to use a team of tools approach. They need to never forget: A good tool is only as good as the hand that wields it.
- A leader who knows that having people smarter than themselves work with them will take the team of advisors approach. They need to never forget: An advisor who executes has expectations that their leader isn’t just a dilettante.
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