New Leaders Series – Part 2: The Royal “We”

The first practice I would recommend to any new leader making a shift from “me” to “we” is to understand the deeper implications of what’s meant by “we” – if you’ll allow – what I like to call the royal “we”.

The royal “we” isn’t about blindly worshipping hierarchy – it’s about understanding the much broader context of where your team operates. In order to understand the royal “we”, new leaders need to understand the business…. enough of the business to:

  • be able to appreciate and articulate the value that their team and team members deliver
  • enable them to help the team and business to make good decisions

Blindness to the royal “we” is a serious failure in leadership and is usually most notable in it’s absence, such as…

  1. Not understanding the business value delivered by the team within the context of the needs of the overall business. This can lead to a kind of “white knight” behaviour where the leader champions blindly for issues that are not really important to the business. Such leaders will mistakenly value effort over output – putting the business, their team and themselves at risk.
  2. Favouring “politeness” or “likability” with their team members ahead of ensuring clarity and sound decision making based on business value delivery. Over the long run, the charismatic nature of such leaders won’t be enough to counter balance the overall ineffectiveness of their approach – again, putting the business, the team, and themselves at risk.

To be clear, the practice IS NOT to “stop championing for your team” or to “become impolite / unlikable”; rather, it’s to learn how the business delivers value and how you and your team contributes to this with great and constant clarity.  Balancing the needs of the team with the needs of the business is the true and skillful expression of the royal “we”.

BTW – In writing this blog post, I wish express my deep gratitude to Adam Murray (@AdamRMurray) Mike Kelland (@Mkelland), Mike Nash (@MichaelPNash) as well as Tim Redpath (@tredpath) who patiently worked with me as I slowly practiced this skill for myself… I would humbly submit that I still have a long way to go on this path.

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