Collaboration is the keystone of leadership success. Donâ€™t believe me? Â Google â€œsequestrationâ€ anyone?
These days we are seeing infantile exercises in acting out. Driven by rigid ideology, inflated egos, and a desire for revenge that put party above country, potentially serious damage was self-inflicted on our economy by a stubborn few. This is not a political rant as much as it is a leadership call to action.
This is what leadership failure looks. And it happened because some people donâ€™t know how to â€“ or refuse to â€” collaborate.
Thereâ€™s a silver lining: we have an object lesson in howÂ notÂ to run our enterprises and careers. And the imperative to collaborate as leaders has never been made clearer.
Collaboration isnâ€™t about being best friends, or even necessarily liking everyone youâ€™re working with. ItÂ isÂ about putting all and any baggage aside, bringing your best self to the table, and focusing on the common goal.
Still not quite sold on the need to collaborate? List the five products or services that you feel most passionate about, that you just couldnâ€™t live without. The iPhone? Downton Abbey? Pinterest? Kit-Kat bars? Twitter?
Got your list?
Every single thing on that list was the product of a successful team collaboration.
Sure, there may have been some half-crazy genius likeÂ Steve JobsÂ who supplied the leadership inspiration, but inspiration without collaboration is just a lot of great ideas that evaporate into the ether.
Some of us are wary of collaboration because we feel threatened by it. Will I get credit for my contribution? And who wants to be one of many, just a cog in the wheel? We want to be stars, unique, fabulous. This narcissistic mindset is endemic in our culture these days, fed by media (and reality TV). Now that we can all document our daily lives for hundreds, if not thousands, to see, our egos risk becoming inflated, not based on any accomplishments but simply because weâ€™re stars on our own Facebook page. A dangerous threat to your business and career if you are unwilling to work with others in a productive way.
Get over it.
Make a list of five living people youÂ greatlyÂ admire (include at least two businesspeople and your mom if you need to. Smiles).
Got your list?
Every person on that list got where they are through collaboration.
Theyâ€™re smart enough to know they need help to make their dreams a reality, to buildÂ to success andÂ onÂ success.
Collaboration isnâ€™t about giving up your individuality. Quite the opposite: itâ€™s about realizing your potential. Itâ€™s about bringing your many gifts to the table and sharing them in pursuit of a common goal. Itâ€™s about bringingÂ your ideas, your passion, your mind, heart, and soul to your leadership and culture.
What it isnâ€™t about is an inflated ego, a thin skin, a closed mind. In todayâ€™s roiling, racing, collaborative, diverse, and thrilling global business economy, these are nothing less than career, leadership, and workplace culture killers.
I hope Iâ€™ve convinced you that collaboration is imperative to success. If you want to see what the failure to collaborate looks like, look at Washington. If you want to see what the potential for collaborative success looks like, look in the mirror. It starts with you.
Who are your five people?
A version of this post was first published on Forbes.com.