About nine years ago, I went on a trip to Latvia with a group of more than 50 people from eight different countries including Russia, Sweden, US, Holland, and Latvia. The age ranges in the group were from 16-60 and contained people from all walks of life. The purpose of the trip was to provide food and clothing to impoverished Russian people who had stayed behind after Russia pulled out of the Baltic States. When Russia was in power in the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia), they discriminated against the natives. After Russia left, the natives returned the “favor” to those Russians who stayed behind, making it difficult for them to obtain jobs.
The leader of our group was gifted with extraordinary vision and charisma. He established audacious goals and got everyone excited to work toward accomplishing them. This strength, however, was offset by a sizable lack of skill in administration. You might think this would have caused problems, but instead it created a team dynamic rarely encountered.
On our team, were some incredible administrators (one of which was his wife). The administrators’ strength was revealed when they took on his audacious goals and helped him organize the team to pull it off. This dynamic rippled through the team; other members stepped up to lead activities they were good at and the rest of the members contributed to help them succeed by utilizing their own set of gifts. In spite of the incredible diversity in the group’s demographics, the team succeeded. More than that, everyone exercised their own passions and strengths depending all the while depending on others doing the same. This enabled some whose gifts may not have been readily apparent, to shine. There is no greater feeling than being a part of a team that is truly synergistic.
This dynamic is only enabled when the leader is willing to set the tone. If our leader had limited his vision to what he knew he could personally administrate, we would have lost out, not only on his strength, but also the strengths of the administrators and the resulting ripple effect that brought out the strengths in the rest of the team. If everyone in a team can focus on the strengths they bring to the effort rather than feeling the need to shore up their weaknesses, incredible things can happen; however, this depends on the leader not requiring perfection in everyone, including themselves, and instead making way for each to express their own ability.
Are you willing to do that?