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Is leadership training a waste of time?

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What does this look like in practice? That’s the great thing – whatever we co-create it to be, as this capability muscle grows every time something needs to happen and involves people. I once took part in a group challenge that was assessed nationally and I was the designated leader of a group to focus on a very specific challenge. Very much in the style of The Apprentice where contestants have to work together but also take care to shine individually. It’s a delicate balance to get that right, but the only way I know how to lead is through co-creation – I am not the commander in chief of a group of people, nor did I ever want to be. I have my responsibilities, of course, but so too do people within the team.

I have my own ideas, but so too do members of the team. It’s about the best ideas that deliver the most impact, and the only way to get at these is through co-creation. So, that’s the way I led this group – from objectives to outcomes – and I’ll always remember the feedback; the assessor sharply observed that he didn’t know who the leader actually was. The co-creation style ensured we dominated the final presentations and assessment. We delivered the best ideas, the best team presentation and ultimately won the task with high praise from a leading CEO. We were poles apart from the other group, but their leader was very easy to identify.

There’s a time and a place for high visibility leadership, yet the real victories emerge when we focus on delivering a team experience that unlocks the creative energy and absolute best contribution from each contributor.

As I have written in my books to date, co-creation is a leadership superpower. Indeed, there is not much out there that will top this when it comes to management capabilities. It is an ever present in successful EX leadership practices. Co-creation is about sharing power and bringing the full potential of people to the table. Harnessing ideas, sharing leadership and co-producing outcomes is a way of leading in a more human-centric way.

Instead of dictating objectives, we co-create them instead. Instead of making plans in isolation, we create the plan together. Instead of telling people what to do, we ask them to co-create the right business-growing actions together. In this mode, leadership becomes more about facilitation and genuine collaboration than anything else. While at the same time, leaders increase and enhance all the major people metrics that matter, from engagement right through to innovation.

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