Creating Effective Leadership Teams
October 22, 2021
Something I learned early on is that leadership is an emotional, spiritual, and intellectual journey.
There have been times where I have found myself falling into the trap of what Dr. Meredith Belbin calls “solo leadership,” where I’m more focused on directing those I lead than on developing the team, more intent on achieving objectives than on furthering a shared mission.
As leaders, we must have a level of self-awareness if we are going to grow in any capacity. Otherwise, we will become stagnant, settling into complacency and never fully reaching our potential. We must surround ourselves with friends and colleagues who challenge us, point out where we are lacking, and encourage us to understand who we are now so we can see who we can become. This is what creating an effective leadership team truly looks like. I am lucky to have had these friends and teams, both past and present, who have not been afraid to plunge into the depths with me so that I can come out the other side a stronger leader both professionally and personally.
Dr. Gregg Marutzky is one such friend. He is a minister, counselor, engineer, and professor in the Los Angeles area. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Business Administration, he went on to get a Master’s of Divinity and a Doctorate of Ministry, along with a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. He is a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, and a National Certified Counselor.
Gregg has spent years leading in the non-profit and religious sectors as well as in the for-profit sector, while helping others with his experience in counseling. He is currently studying to receive a Doctorate of Philosophy, specifically in Leadership.
Gregg and I have known each other for years, and I was fortunate enough to speak to him on our podcast this week. It was refreshing to discuss the importance of self-awareness, and how much more powerful and effective it is to be a strong leadership team rather than a solo leader. I very much enjoyed our conversation, and I hope you do too.
- Inclusive Leadership
- Milton Rokeach
- David A. Seamands
- Dr. Meredith Belbin
- Management Teams: Why they succeed or fail
- Team Roles at Work
- The Coming Shape of Organization
- Changing the Way We Work
- The Nine Roles
- Complexity Leadership Theory – Mary Uhl-Bien
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders by Ira Chaleff
- Inclusive Leadership: The Essential Leader-Follower Relationship by Edwin Hollander
- Founding Brothers, by Joseph J. Ellis
- John Adams, HBO miniseries
- Becoming Steve Jobs: The evolution of a reckless upstart into a visionary leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
- Asha Corporate Consultant
- Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson
- 30 Books Every Young Leader Needs to Read (Lead Different)
*Dr. Meredith Belbin was mistakenly referred to as ‘she’ instead of ‘he’. We apologize for the mistake*
Russ Ewell 0:25
Welcome to Lead Different. It’s great to have everybody listening again, whether you’re in your car or you’re at home, fixing up a couple of things and just sitting around maybe watching a little football maybe you’re going to give my Patriots a look, or you’re going to give my Tampa Bay Buccaneers a look or I’ve got a great guest, Gregg Marutzky. You might want to give his Broncos a look on a Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon. But thanks for tuning in to Lead Different and we are grateful that you are going to our site reading our articles and podcast and we thank you for all the feedback you’re giving us. And part of what has produced this episode is some of the feedback we’ve gotten from you. And this episode is “Creating Effective Leadership Teams” and I’ve got the perfect guest for you. We’re fortunate to be joined by Dr. Gregg Marutzky. For the discussion about creating effective leadership teams. Dr. Gregg Marutzky’s administer counselor, engineer and professor in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, we won’t hold the Los Angeles part against him, hose of us here in Northern California. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and business administration then went on to get a masters of divinity, and a Doctorate of ministry, along with a master’s in mental health counseling. He’s a certified clinical mental health counselor, licensed professional clinical counselor, a marriage and family therapist and a nationally certified counselor. Gregg spent years leading in for profit and nonprofit sectors and helping others with his experience in counseling. He’s currently studying to receive a Doctorate of philosophy specifically in leadership.
Gregg and I met years ago, we were we were a little hesitant to say the decade but it was in the 80s. We’ll just put that out there. And we got to know each other, worked together a little bit in Boston. And that was the beginning of both of our leadership journeys. I think his may have started in maybe Colorado before that, but that’s where we met. And both was what our earliest stages of understanding leadership, that it’s an emotional, spiritual and intellectual journey. It’s not just one thing. And I really wanted to have Gregg on because I have been very aware of, he’s one of those leaders that you can actually say, whether he’s in a corporate for profit world, or a corporate nonprofit world, that actually has the quality of being loving. Now a lot of people go: what does that have to do with business? Well, increasingly, in the environment we’re in where you need emotional intelligence, and the capacity to include people, that touch of being able to connect with anyone is special. And he’s got that, and he’s got a lot of resources from his education, to be able to apply to helping us understand how to create effective leadership teams. So Gregg, welcome to Lead Different and thanks for coming on. I want to start you out with a question. Why have you decided to focus on leadership and in completing your doctorate of philosophy?
Gregg Marutzky 3:15
That’s a great question, Russ, and I’m so grateful that I could be with you, you’re a dear friend. And we have known each other for many decades, and I respect and admire you tremendously, you know, I think times changed. I learned leadership in the 70s in business school. It was a deregulation period in the 70s for trucking. And my older brother, my father had a trucking company. And so I wanted to learn about deregulation, and I was in civil engineering. And if you got a double major, then you got to slow down and didn’t have to take so many engineering courses in one semester and mix it up. I went five years, just for practical reasons. And but I learned the command and control the top down leadership approach that the great man theory the hero leadership theory, and then the trait theory, and then the behavioral theory. And I practiced it for years. I practiced it as an engineer, at one point, even leading an engineering design and build company.
And you know, I’d say after 25 years, I started seeing the burnout in myself that you can’t do everything. It’s too much, leadership is too big. It’s such a profound thing as well as the world has changed. It’s gotten more complex. We’ve gone from organizations that are basically hierarchical or bureaucratic and then now things are more systems and more egalitarian and more flatter, so to speak. As well as global, you know, Thomas Friedman’s book in 2007, the world’s flat. It’s all connected because of those eight, transformative things that happened around the millennium. It brought the world together, the internet and all that. And so I needed to change. So I went back to school, and I got a doctorate. And my project thesis was on transforming leadership. And so I got very interested in that, and very excited about it. But I also saw that, you know, that’s not quite enough, it really focuses on charismatic leadership. You know, that you have to have certain gifts and everything. And I think I have some of those gifts, but nobody has them all. And so I think I had an open question still, after that study. And so I’m getting ready to retire from my full time job and hopefully do some more teaching and writing and counseling. And so I just decided I would look into Leadership Studies. And I have to say that, in the last two and a half years, as I’ve done, my coursework, probably read 100 plus books. And I’ve loved every one of them. They are answering the questions that I have now, as a 21st century leader, that I’ve just chosen to be a lifelong learner, and it feeds my soul. There’s some, there’s some need, I could tell you my personal pathology, but that that’s not really – I just love to study I get loved to study.
Russ Ewell 6:48
Well, I think it’s really exciting what you’re talking about. First and foremost, I think, you know, everyone, every great business thinker I’ve ever run into or read – two of my favorites are Peter Drucker, and the other is Jim Collins, and of course, Thomas Friedman certainly is incredible, and then David Brooks, who’s right there in the New York Times within those columns, he’s even progressing in a more dramatic direction as far as how we ought to be. But the one thing they seem to always say is everything starts with a question. And I like I like what you say there. And so I’m going to, I’m going to ask you a question about questions. I started reading a inclusive leadership book that you mentioned that you read. And what I was struck by, is when it comes to inclusive leadership, there’s a leading inward and a leading outward. And I was struck by that. And as you were talking about questions, I thought, how important is self awareness when it comes to creating leadership teams? Because it sounds like you have spent a great deal of time making yourself self aware. And I agree with everything you said, I came along in the 80s with you know, every book you read was the one man guy, the just command control, the star of the show, you know, the Napoleon’s worth 50,000 troops just by himself, I mean, there’s that that’s all being infused into the head. And and I learned from what I read and thought, Oh, that’s how you have to be. And only only failure taught me that that’s not how you have to be and it’s not effective, and that things evolve. But can you talk a little bit about the importance of self awareness, because in creating teams, it seems like even what you describe, there’s got to be reflection, there’s got to be self awareness and dealing with people that are different than you are trying to form a team, which invariably is going to contain people different than you, you have to have that inward and outward leadership, you have to have that self awareness. Maybe you could talk about that for our listeners, because, you know, I live in Silicon Valley, and we have great engineering here. But one of the things that we have to work on in this area is emotional intelligence, self awareness, and in the midst of trying to, you know, make a startup go or make a business go and, and ship products, which is important, there has to be some awareness of ourselves and other people if we’re going to be successful down the road. So can you talk a little bit about that?
Gregg Marutzky 9:11
Oh, absolutely. That’s a great question. Because I think at about 50 years old, I realized I wasn’t self aware enough that I didn’t always understand my impact on people. Milton Rokeach is a famous psychologist. And he talks about values, he talks about that inward and outward thing and he talks about how leaders have to have self awareness and that everyone’s looking for that too. So they have equilibrium that they have inner peace, but then also the outward aspect of being able to have a congruent story and that they’re blending with other people and they have relationship with other people and so it’s also a part of my counseling education, I realize that you’ve got to have this social concern and outward focus, but also that inner focus of assertiveness and self confidence but an awareness, a sober awareness of your strengths and your weaknesses.
And I think that I happen to stumble into chaplaincy, because Mike had two daughters in college and a second job. And so for eight years, I was a chaplain at level one hospital. And you have to go through a year of internship, held clinical pastoral education. And it’s all about finding your anxieties. So you come into the room as a non anxious presence. And don’t communicate that anxiety to those people that are already hurting and full of anxiety that it’s their worst day. And it’s not your worst day. And so I had a year of group therapy, a year of individual counseling and became more self aware, I experienced some holy moments, some sacred space, some, some grace moments that helped, you know, me to understand myself. And then that sort of got me on this journey of going getting a counseling degree, my wife’s a counselor. And as she was studying the diagnostic manual, she she recognized that I had a lot of the symptoms not impaired to any degree, but that I had a lot of different symptoms of a lot of things. Most people do, right. And so anyway, she talked me into getting this counseling degree, and one of the great blessings was they encourage you to have a semester of group therapy. And I was in a therapy session with a tremendous female therapist, and 16 young college women, okay and I was the only man and here I am 50 years old. So I thought, I’m not saying anything.
Russ Ewell 12:26
Gregg Marutzky 12:27
But, you know, great therapists, they ask the right questions. And she got on a track with me, and helped me to realize that deep down, I had some shame. I used to have a very bad temper as a young man. And she drew that out. And that was still defining me in ways. Thirty five years later, she helped me see the lack of rationality and logic of that, you know, we have a lot of illogical thoughts that are unconscious that we don’t even know we have. And that’s what’s so powerful about becoming self aware and having someone assist you to see yourself. Because, you know I had gone through a lot of training, but you don’t see yourself you have blind spots. So and those 16 young women gave me grace, and helped me let go of that shame that day.
Russ Ewell 13:28
It said, that’s amazing that what I think is so so when I listen to you talk, the first thing that comes to my mind is the years I spent growing up trying to be a high achiever, you know, the grades, the awards, the sports, the, all these things and racking them up, only to realize later on, I’d say that in my 30s, I started to realize it in my well, in my 20s. I had a several crises moments, because I was starting to figure out I didn’t know who I was, because everything had been done to impress people or to get rid of the insecurity, tremendous numbers of, you know, of insecurity. And I too have spend a lot of time I had a year, that we were we had a foster daughter for a little while. And I was reading all these books to understand foster kids and what they go through. And when I read them, I was shocked would be the word by the insights of the psychologist and I began to have an appreciation for psychology that I hadn’t had before. Now, before I read the book, Sibyl when I was in high school, or something like that, and I thought about being a psychiatrist. But then later on, I switched the politics and that’s a whole nother story. But then I was reading these psychology books, I was like, well, there’s there’s so much power to the consistent observations that psychologists and psychiatrists make of people and the patterns they are able to discern. And then I was reading another book by I can’t remember the title of it, but by David Siemens, and I began to look and say, I’ve got a lot going on inside of me, that I was unaware of, and that’s driving me to do what I do, I’m not just being driven by ambition, I’m being driven by insecurity, not feeling accepted, not feeling loved, not feeling cared about. And I think oftentimes, these areas, which would be sort of the soft skills, some people might call them as opposed to the hard skills are not ones that in particular men want to delve into, which is why I think statistically, men are known not to be the ones who want to go for mental health help. But I think that’s tied to not wanting to really reflect. I studied a lot of leaders, I won’t mention the names of them, but many of them is trumpeted as Oh, they’re not, they’re not self reflecting, they let it go, and they move on. And I started to realize, that’s not a good thing. And like yourself, I had training in a lot of areas and had developed a lot of external leadership skills. But I had almost zero internal leadership skills, which is to lead myself and develop myself. And so one of the things that I hear you saying is, we can’t be afraid of doing that. And it can be done through like you talked about group therapy can be done through individual therapy can also be done, I think, you know, I know you so I know this is true, it can be done through great friendships, and and marriage where you can have these conversations, if we’re willing to let people draw us out, and then tell us what they think. And so as I hear you talking about all of that, can you give me an idea of let’s say, you have a leadership team, it may be three people, it may be 10 people, is there a way to begin to create an environment that will make everybody in the group more self aware and more welcoming of developing self awareness? Is there a way to do that?
Gregg Marutzky 16:41
Sure, I think probably one of the best ways is positive psychology. And there’s, there’s four rules of positive psychology. The first one is a non judgmental stance. And people have to feel safe and secure. Teams are created by leaders that people trust. And in counseling, it’s called the therapeutic alliance, basically, any model, they’ve done research, they’ve proven that it didn’t matter whether you do CBT, or DBT, or EMDR, whatever you do, the key is the therapeutic alliance. And if you don’t have that, you’re not going to be effective with it. And so the first thing is, people have to feel safe and secure. So you have positive personal regard, that’s just a fancy way of saying, you make people you like people. And you can even take it higher, and say you love people.
Russ Ewell 17:46
You got to start with that. So if you don’t, if you don’t like people, you’re gonna have a hard time creating a team.
Gregg Marutzky 17:50
Right! And so it’s positive personal regard. The second thing, though, is this non judgmental, and people need to be themselves, and they need to be accepted as themselves, you know, Brene Brown is, you know, pushing, and is really helping people. Yes, I encourage them to be vulnerable, and that they’re enough. Yeah, that they’re enough. And then there’s a lot of clinical psychologists now writing about how there’s this existential anxiety that’s come to the surface even greater, because of the pandemic concern, and Rollo May and Irvin Yalom, you know, talk to develop the philosophy of existentialism, existential philosophy, but we all have these four basic needs. We need relationships, isolation is one of those fears. Death is one of those fears come into the world alone, we leave alone, and so their isolation and that they’re connected. And then the then we want freedom, though, but with freedom comes responsibility. And that’s frightening, you know, to really take full responsibility for our lives. And then the last one is maybe the most meaningful, it’s meaning we got to have purpose. All of us have that within us, and those existential needs, and that’s why relationships and team building is so important, but the first thing I’d say is that trust. And Dr. Meredith Belbin, in the 70s developed Team Leadership Theory, and she, she has written a book several books, but one of her most famous is making teams work why they’re successful or or they fail. And, you know, she described the solo leader versus the team leader. Team leader looks for talent. He delegates, he limits his role. He develops people. And that’s what inclusive leadership is about. That’s what Hollander writes about in inclusive leadership that that leadership has been redefined in the 21st century by roest, as that intersection that between the leader and the follower, that it takes both a leader and a follower to do leadership. And I think that coincides with Team leadership that the solo leader is directive, he’s not developing, he’s putting out objectives versus the, the team leader puts out a mission, you know, and studies have shown that, that we need diversity, and that the solo leader wants uniformity, where the team leader wants diversity. And diversity on any team brings innovation, and creativity that is really proven over and over in research. And in this global society that we’re in and the fast pace. It’s no longer the information age, it’s a complexity age, and that we’re in the era according to *inaudible*, of complexity. And complexity theory puts a lot of fear angst in people. And yet great thing it’d be let it run, its chaos theory, things will come to an equilibrium. And even in complexity, they found out that in these programs and everything that eventually things will settle to an equilibrium state. But that creativity comes from that dynamic of team, a lot of diverse people. Belbin says that there’s nine different roles for a team, and any one person can only do two or three roles, is Yeah, you need multiple people to fulfill all the roles. And that as you have form a team like that, you’ve got to accept that there that there’ll be people with strengths, but they also have weaknesses. And and I think our concept is, everybody has to be an all star. There’s no weaknesses on the team. And that’s just unrealistic. That’s why people cover up their weaknesses instead of be vulnerable bottom we all have.
Russ Ewell 22:33
Well, you know, it’s interesting, because, and we’ll come to this a little bit, but I think that the one of the things that I think managers, supervisors, people who run their own company, will say, you know, all this sounds great, but I’ve got to ship products. I’ve got to make a profit. I’ve got to earn money. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not there to work people through their issues. Right? What but I think what you’re saying is in the world we live in today, if you’re going to be successful, no, you don’t have to be their personal therapist, but you’re going to have to be able to develop people. And I missed the I missed the book. You mentioned Meredith, it’s I can’t remember the name because I have never heard of that. She has the successful team book.
Gregg Marutzky 23:17
Yeah. Dr. Meredith Belbin, B E L B I N, management teams: why they succeed or fail. And then she also she has several books by the publisher, Routledge of the coming shape of organizations, team roles at work
Russ Ewell 23:35
We are going to put those on the show notes, because I think those would be really good for people to read, because you’re really talking about it in a in a less with speaking in less depth, you’re speaking in great depth, you’re talking about developing interpersonal skills, but you’re talking about them at a level of depth. So I want to take it because I think some people will be like, well, I got stuff to do, I gotta hit these deadlines. And you and I both know about that, because we both been in that situation, where the task in front of us dominated our mind so much in our own as you said, shame insecurity was so controlling that we didn’t even take time to take care of ourselves. I had a phone call two weeks ago, with a coach in Division One coach that I know. And I he and I were talking about bunch of things. I said, well give me some input on my leadership, you got to tell me something I need to do better, you know, give me something to think about. And he’s helped me a lot because I actually had that delegation problem where you know, thinking I have to do everything and you know, that doesn’t work and you burn out. But he said, Well, number one piece of advice I’d give for you is self care. You got to take care of yourself Russ, you got to make sure you do that. Though that kind of awareness is what’s in people who are successfully leading now his awareness of what I needed. I’m expecting him to say, you know, set this goal and reach this thing and do more of that. And I think that that’s really what you’re talking about. It’s a successful way to do it.
And I want to bring up some historical and present bow sort of present day examples that I think we can we can talk about that will help the listener who’s saying, but how do I, how does that practically work and so one of my favorite books and I know you’re aware of it as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s team of rivals, and that was a favorite of President Obama’s and several leaders have read it. But there’s a quote from the book that I found, you know, descriptive of the entire book of someone decides they don’t want to read it. It soon became clear, however, that Abraham Lincoln would emerge the undisputed captain of this most unusual captain, truly a team of rivals, the powerful competitors, who had originally disdain Lincoln, became colleagues who helped him steer the country through its darkest days, again, Doris Kearns Goodwin, team of rivals, I happen to run into her. She had a book signing in downtown San Jose or not San Jose, but there’s a part outside of San Jose. And I said, I’m going to go and I grabbed a friend. So let’s go down there. And it actually they’d made a mistake. And they had set her up at a borders, which now borders is out of business. And maybe that’s one of the reasons sadly, because it’s from Ann Arbor, but she had, they had never put out any information that she was going to be there. On any significant level, they put out one thing, and I happened to see it. So I got to talk to her for like an hour about the book when it’s being released. And the thing I think that was compelling to me is in reading the book, and I’ve got, I don’t know, 12 books on Lincoln, but his his self awareness, but that his self awareness was developed from suffering. He went through a lot. And as he lost his wife, his mother, as he had a defeat, which is well known by a lot of people, he lost most of his elections, but then that I think he developed an awareness of who he was, and awareness of his limitations, and an internal strength that most of us don’t have. Some people believe he was had depression, but a lot of the current historians would say, not necessarily, you know, full blown as we would see it, uh, given the pressure he was under, who knows, you know, I would have certainly been depressed in in the middle of what he was facing. But the reason I bring it up is he took guys who didn’t like him, who didn’t respect him. And he formed a team with them. And so to me, when someone says, Well, everything Greg’s talking about sounds like a lot of stuff that you know, a CEO or CEO or a product manager, those people are supposed to do that. Well, the reality is, Lincoln was able to form one of the most powerful cabinets and governments in the history of the world, not alone, not just America, because he was able to pull guys in, who absolutely had no respect for him, and didn’t think he should be it. And some of them which had insulted him, and called him names I won’t mention on the podcast. And so when I look at Lincoln, and I see the ability to take competitors, and make them part of your team, I think that’s a practical application, what you’re talking about, Lincoln had a phrase he used to use.
“I destroy my enemies, I make them my friends.” So I think in a way, what you’re talking about, is a leadership like that someone who’s capable of working with anybody who’s willing to be worked with, would I be accurate in saying he’s a good example. And that that the pains and difficulties we go through in life many times are shaping us into that kind of inclusive leader who can build a team can be empathetic with people sensitive to people, and at the same time motivating with high expectations. Does that sound reasonable to you?
Gregg Marutzky 28:44
Oh, absolutely. I think that what the reason Lincoln can was able to do that he was a differentiated leader. But he became that because he was wasn’t so self focused. And he was able to to empathize. That suffering caused him to relate to other people. And it helps you to see our your finitude at a professor that the whole semester he talked about a lot of things, but he kept coming back to you graduate students need to understand your limit your finitude and I’m not saying you’re fragile, I’m not saying you’re weak. But I’m saying you have limits. And so you have strengths as well. And I think that’s, that’s what team leadership accentuates, it accentuates you have weaknesses and you have strengths. If you acknowledge that in your differentiated leader, and you develop empathy for other people, and then you want to hear their story. And the best way to develop empathy, which is not sympathy, sympathy is you take on their pain right there. Where empathy is you walk with them in that pain, you don’t have to feel it exactly. Or even agree with it, right? But you, you, you, you respect their worldview, their perspective, and you walk with them, and you come alongside them. And I think Lincoln, because of his suffering because of his, his challenges with his wife and all the different things he went through, he developed a sense of his strengths and his limits.
Russ Ewell 30:26
So talk for talk for a minute for me, because one of the guys who became his closest trend was seward, his secretary of state, but talk for it was for me a little bit, because a lot of times we talk about leadership, inclusive leadership and building teams, we often focus on the leader a lot, but we don’t focus on the people on the team, and what skills they have to develop, and what things they have to sort of be able to be capable of. And then one of the things that I started figuring out, was, I had actually had a really close friend who passed away not that long, well, years ago now, but Scott Greene, who you knew, as well. And I don’t know, in the early 2000s, Scott and I were talking on the phone and I was talking about discoveries I was making about myself, I said, I’ve had to go back at my leadership, and question everything I’ve done to make sure that how I’m doing it isn’t just an inherited habit or pattern. But it’s instead as an intentional decision to become the leader I need to be. And he said up, he said to me, says, You know, I see you growing, he said, it seems to me, as you’ve moved away from some old mentors, and found new ones, that you’ve, you’re, you’re beginning to return to the guy I knew in college, because we went to college together. And he said, You were always a real team guy. But I think you had begun to be shaped into a more of a, to use your terminology, you were being shaped into a solo leader. When I was in high school, I played basketball. And I wanted to be the star and I wanted to be all state, etc, etc, you know, very ambitious, very, very much looking for attention, which we could go into the psychosis of that it’s been hours. But I was not the starter. And I had a great coach, and he liked me, but I just never got that, that that my coach sent me an email, he goes, I know you were never happy with your playing time. But he said, you were one of the you, you’re one of the greatest team players I’ve ever ever coached. And it’s because I learned to be in a secondary role or a tertiary role, I learned that being on a team is not about my personal success. And it was the first experience I had. Now, what Scott was saying is along the way, I forgot that part. And I began to be more about, you know, I’ve got to achieve this. And he said, I see you returning to that guy you were and what I attribute that to is learning how to follow learning how to make other people great, what advice would you give to people that are on a team that involves them focusing on working on themselves, as opposed to maybe always working on the leader? Does that make sense?
Gregg Marutzky 33:00
Yeah, you know, you’re, you’re a better leader, when you’ve learned how to be a follower, you’re not a leader, if no one will follow you. You have to learn how to follow and, you know, Ira Chaleff has written some great stuff about being a courageous follower, and he’s got this term, intelligent disobedience. You need to like, like a seeing eye dog has to learn to be obedient first. But then somewhere along the line, if the master asks them to cross the street, when there’s a car coming, that dog has to not obey, and has to hold the position and for the sake of, of their, their master. And so that’s that intelligent disobedience. And so Chaleff talks about how we, we need to claim our power. followers have power and can exercise power, by taking more responsibility in organizations by getting things done that need to be done by not waiting, just by being assertive, and and taking up the slack and helping the whole organization be successful. And then you’ll rise up because because that’s helping the leader to be successful, but even helping that leader, if you challenge him, and you sharpen him and you help, that that’s why I like inclusive leadership because Hollander developed this model called the idiosyncratic model where he talked about leaders have to have to gain legitimacy with the follower by earning credits, of doing things of empowering the followers, helping develop the followers, that kind of thing. And it’s really the only thing I’ve seen in the leadership on followership, and there’s a lot more They didn’t used to be hardly any literature of fellowship. But it’s the only place where I see that they’re really encouraging followers to hold leaders accountable. It’s almost assumed that it’s an ethical thing to do the audit do it the audit report leaders if they’re unethical, but there’s no incentive to do it. In fact, it’s it’s almost career sabotage, you can, you’ll get fired at a toxic leader is going to get rid of you, you know, and they’re blocked the lines of communication for you to report anything. Yeah, but you can develop especially now because of social media. Followers can communicate to one another outside the lines of communication in organizations. And so you lead followers can unite and they have a lot more power now, which is, which is a good thing. That’s a check and balance, Madison wrote it into our our form of government that we have to have that checks and balances, and every leader needs checks and balances, and it helps you to become a better leader.
Russ Ewell 35:58
What’s interesting, the the Joseph Ellis write the book, founding brothers book about, you know, all the the original founding fathers and obviously there’s some argument now, you know, should they be, should they be honored, as great as they are, since they didn’t deal with certain issues, obviously, the original sin of America, slavery, the one of the things you learn in there is that there was a lot of conflict in their relationships. But it was a conflict that didn’t result in disunity or breaking apart. You know, they said, join or die. And one of my favorite movies is john adams. It’s the HBO series that covers his life. But you can see all the different players in there, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and again, the conflict and even with john, Thomas Jefferson, and john adams, there developed the level of anonymity when they ran against each other for president that resulted in them having great distance after having been close friends. The reason I bring it up is what you’re talking about, really, is that relationships are complicated. And they’re not, they’re not always going to be agreeable in the sense that you can be you can be friendly, but you don’t always have to agree. And I think that’s what you’re saying.
But one of the examples that I bring up for this is Steve Jobs. He’s one of my favorite leaders. But he’s got an incredibly, you know, terrible reputation with certain people, especially because of his early leadership. And I had a there’s a book by Brent Schlender, and Rick, Tedzeli, called becoming Steve Jobs. I just want to read a quote about him, because a lot of people, they read the Walter Isaacson book, but they didn’t read this one. And this was written by guys who are obviously more friendly to him, but I think it’s more personal for them. These were muddled complicated times, and not the stuff of easy headlines. But those years in fact, the critical ones of his career, he was working at next I happened to meet him and talk to him when he was there. It was before he kind of rose to prominence again, they go on. That’s when he learned most everything that made his later success possible. And that’s when he started to temper and channel his behavior. to overlook those years is to fall into the trap of only celebrating success. We can learn as much, if not more from failure, from promising paths that turn into dead ends. The vision, understanding patience and wisdom that informed Steve’s last decade, were forged in the trials of these intervening years. The failures stinging reversals, miscommunications, bad judgment calls, emphasis on wrong values. The whole Pandora’s box of immaturity, were necessary prerequisites to clarity, moderation, reflection, and steadiness he would display in later years.
And one of the reasons that Tim Cook and Steve’s wife didn’t like, the movie that came out. It was while years ago now was because they felt it didn’t reflect this part of his life. The reason I bring it up is because you’re talking about great followers. And I see Tim Cook, current CEO of Apple, as a tremendous example of a follower. We’ve never read in the newspaper we’ve never seen in a book, anything from Tim Cook that was disparaging. But you can tell by the development of the company that he had tremendous Tim Cook had tremendous influence on it. And you talked about being a great father being responsibility, I find in my experience, with a startup with a nonprofit, we, you know, have special needs kids. So we built a programs called a life that actually I had to learn inclusion, to raise my kids and to create programs where they could be with typical kids instead of being left out because they were considered to be less. Also by having my kids I learned my limits, because I think prior to having my kids and this is true of any parent, prior to having my kids I thought I had no limits, right? But then when you when you start dealing with your kids, you start going Oh, wait a minute, you know, yesterday I was helping my daughter with some banking and I was like I had stuff to do and she was like, I don’t know how to get this work. About You know, and I was like, man, I gotta stop and I got to do this. And I started to realize this is years ago now I’m obviously older, but I started about, Oh, I can’t do everything, even if I wanted to do everything. And even people who had known me in my 20s and 30s. They’re like, why aren’t you doing this? Why aren’t you doing that? Why aren’t you doing this? And I don’t think they can believe it. I can’t I’m not I’m not capable. In those words, Gregg, those words came across my lips with great difficulty initially.