I just finished the book, Now You See It, by Cathy Davidson that describes how the digital age can and should be transforming our schools and businesses of the 21st Century. There are many things that captured my attention in this book concerning the world of work, learning, and leadership which I will talk about over the next few weeks.
One thing that stood out to me as the most powerful leadership principle was when she discussed LEGO leaders. Lego leaders are really the same things as servant leaders. She used the example of Shane Battier, a standout basketball player who was described by sports writer Michael Lewis as one who had the remarkable ability to lead his team to victory, not by his own "prowess" in scoring, rebounding, and assists, but by his ability to "arrange a situation in which each participant plays to his very best ability in relationship to the opponents." It's a "remarkably modest form of leadership that lets others shine and at the same time empowers others to take responsibility and change."*
Shane's nickname on the court was "LEGO" because he made all the pieces fit together when he was playing.
This ability to humbly lead by making others succeed was also the first on the list of "What Science Says About Successful Bosses" where research showed that the first thing that distinguishes successful from unsuccessful bosses according to years of extensive research is that they are humble rather than arrogant and put others development first.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to discern whether you're being a LEGO leader:
1. What do you spend the most time doing? Is it taking the time to develop the people who work for you? Do you feel that developing others is your first and most important responsibility?
2. Can you name the key strengths of each of the people you lead and do you give them assignments that cater to those strengths?
3. Do members of your team enjoy coming to work and are they motivated to succeed?
4. Do you get out of peoples' way and let them do their job instead of micromanaging over their shoulders?
5. Does your presence make the pieces fit together for a more cohesive whole or does your presence stress those who work for you out?
6. Do you talk about yourself more than your team? Count the number of times you say "I" versus "we" in a day. If "I" is even close to being said as many times as "we" or naming someone who works for you, then you may need to reexamine your focus.
Tell us about someone you know that is a LEGO leader? What do they do to put the pieces together?
*Now You See It, page 225