What are some of the closest teams on the planet, with some of the strongest cultures?
- The team of firefighters rushing into a burning building.
- The team of special forces operatives after a grueling 48-hour training.
- The team of coal miners digging underground in dreadful conditions.
What do all these teams have in common? That the jobs are dangerous. Sometimes people get hurt, or worse.
Though not all teams need the feeling of mortal peril to feel meaningful, what they all have is a high degree of difficulty and a high degree of suffering.
- The team of engineers working overtime to meet a tight deadline, sharing the burden.
- The team of factory personnel trying to work through a breakdown, sharing the burden.
- The team of salespeople taking cross-timezone calls for a big deal, sharing the burden.
So how do leaders build a culture where this high level of teamwork exists?
By sharing in the suffering themselves. As the old saying goes, “A good General eats the same rations as his troops”.
Your people will only go the extra mile if you’re willing to do so first.
Leading from the front is just…leading.
Leading from the back doesn’t exist.
Real leadership gets in the muck.
Good leaders suffer more, good leaders suffer first.
The Culture Club