I was reading a leadership book today that said something along the line of “nothing great was ever accomplished by just one person.” And that got me thinking — What is it that keeps teams, that keeps us, that keeps me from doing something great. Welcome to another edition of #3NoMoreThan5 in 5 and today I ask, is there an “I” in greatness?

Three things came to mind:

  1. Fear — Are we afraid of asking for help? Is that something that’s fueled by another component within our environment or within our workplace? 
  2. Are we ashamed or uncomfortable with learning something new? Yes, it can be hard to walk into a space or do something that is completely foreign. But is that keeping you, keeping us, keeping me from a level of greatness? 
  3. Is it because we come from a mind set of “only people beneath me, only junior people need to ask for help. I know what I’m doing, I’m the leader of the pack, and therefore I should have all the answers.” 

Well, I would assert that all three of those things push us down wrong or at least difficult paths. I know that fear can be pervasive in various corporate cultures. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it and I understand how it can limit your desire, your ability to try something new. 

So, should you consider changing the environment? Either people you’re influencing the bigger team or maybe actually making a change and going into a different environment. Are we ashamed or uncomfortable with learning? It’s hard to learn something new. But how can we get to a place of thinking “I’m going to put myself out there, try something different, and embrace all the great feedback and input that people are generously offering me so I can be better.” 

And finally, are we limiting our greatness because we feel like we need to do it ourselves? Nothing great was accomplished by just one person. And I think about the many teams I was fortunate to work on, the various leaders I got a chance to learn from, and to accomplish these big, audacious, bold things — We needed to come together and it wasn’t about who was at what level, who had what level of expertise, it was about taking all the components and superpowers of the various individuals to come together and create something great. 

Fear is a hard thing to get over, that’s something we can talk for days about, but it’s a choice you get to make. Learning is also a choice you get to make. Are you willing to learn or are you averse to it? And if you are, will that impact what you can contribute and what you can accomplish? And if you’re the one that is all about “they’re the ones that need the help, not me” then I ask you to rethink that position. 

As a leader, as an individual contributor, as a manager, it takes a village (I know that’s cliche) and a variety of inputs, points of view, experiences, specific knowledge to come together and make something great. I’m going on adventure with this and with Leadership Ladder, I’ve had to go to a lot of people who have been generous to teach with me, to share with me and yes it has been frustrating and it can be hard. But my hope is to be able to help others and if from that something great comes, then that means my job is done! 

So until next time, #3NoMoreThan5, where’s the “I” in greatness? Think about it!

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