superchickens istock.jpg

“For years, we’ve thought that leaders were heroic soloists who were expected, all by themselves, to solve complex problems. Now, we need to redefine leadership as an activity in which conditions are created in which everyone can do their most courageous thinking together.” Margaret Heffernan.

When I get invited in to work with leaders from academic and business institutions, one of the most common patterns that I find is the outdated assumption that a collection of competitive, driven, smart, star-players will naturally create a high performing team.

It just doesn’t work that way.

In fact, the competitive, achievement-oriented smarts that got leaders promoted, are often the very characteristics that get in their way when they try to work as a team.

Star players know how to outperform one another, how to compete, how to prove their expertise, but many of them struggle to shift hears and just be real human beings with one another.

Vulnerability, being human, being empathic – these are not commonly found on most “leadership competencies.”

Nor do I see them featured in most academic curricula.

Nor recognized in most award ceremonies.

These are not the things we watch for, value or reward in our schools or businesses.

Let’s change that. 

In this video, Margaret Heffernan describes some fascinating research about SuperChickens (yup) and points out some key differences between having star players in a competitive organization, and creating high performing teams. 

She also describes some research findings from MIT: High-trust, collaborative groups of people share 3 characteristics: 

1 A high degree of social sensitivity to each other

2 Roughly equal air time during discussions (no passengers, no dominators)

3 Higher percentage of women in the groups

If you’ve been wondering what gets in the way of a team’s ability to collaborate and enjoy working together, then this video is for you!