Moving from “I” to “We”

Bill George

Leaders of tomorrow are not solitary figures but unifiers, people who can rally anch9blogimage organization around a clear vision. To do this well, leaders must transition from “I” mentality to “We” mentality, and dedicate their lives to working for the good of others. To get here, leaders must be motivated by intrinsic rewards like gaining satisfaction from team success and positively impacting their communities.

It is a journey, moving from a focus on one’s self to a genuine concern for the group, but a necessary one. The transition from “I” thinking to “We” thinking is also something leaders must ask of others, as people find satisfaction in strides taken together.

The employees of tomorrow demand empowerment

We have talked about work-life integration and the push to have employees bring their whole selves to work. This integration is one reason “We” leadership is so critical. Leaders today must unite fully formed employees with their own opinions and perspectives. When an organization is filled with engaged people, this collective mentality is indispensible.

Studies show Millennials are interested in a workplace that values what they value and respects their need to thrive outside the office. When they find these qualities, Millennials are loyal to their organizations. Millennials are looking for “work families” and an authentic environment centered on relationships, rather than just tasks.

The call for leaders to respect the lives of others while honoring their own life commitments is a cornerstone of Discover Your True North.

A third of all workers in America are Millennials, and they will make up half of the workforce by 2020. Authentic leaders are moving in their direction, but managers who fail to shift their thinking from “I” to “We” will be unable to recruit the most valuable employees.

Are you on the way to “We”?

In the 20th century, people thought that the way to become a leader was to rise to power and get others to follow them. That’s no longer true. Today, everyone can become a leader if they act authentically, and are able to define a way forward for a group of like-minded, motivated people.

As you begin to look at your life and think about how you are growing as a leader, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my life matter? To whom?
  • What’s the purpose of my life and my leadership?
  • Will I leave a legacy behind?

These questions often require cognitive reframing. They force you to look deeper into your motivations and style of leadership to determine if you are leading for the right reasons. Is it money you’re after? Recognition? Or do you want to impact the lives of others? This ongoing shift from extrinsic to intrinsic motivations is a motif throughout Discover Your True North and one of the more important steps in becoming a “We” leader.

Are you one of tomorrow’s great leaders?

There are numerous books on leadership, but the process for becoming an authentic one is laid out clearly in Discover Your True North. It’s not about following a list of Do’s and Don’ts — it’s about being true to your authentic self and letting this awareness inform how you interact with others. Discovering your True North and becoming a well-rounded and companionate leader will require the shift to being invested in the success of others.

Much like becoming self-aware, this is an ongoing process. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself one question: Do I want to exert power over others, or an authentic leader who empowers others? As you discover your True North, the answer will become clear.

Learn more about this topic in Chapter 9: I to We

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