One of my favourite books of 2013 was Tribal Leadership:
Go on – the video is only 16 minutes long, I’ll wait.
I first came across Tribal Leadership from the excellent Portia Tung at the equally brilliant BCS SPA mini-conference.
In her session, she explained the basics of Tribal Leadership and then set us up in teams with the task of making paper cranes:
I didn’t really understand what it was about at the time, but I think I do now:
- Initially making cranes was hard, the instructions were poor, it wasn’t much fun – so we were experiencing stage 1, “life sucks”
- Then some people started completing the task, I wasn’t able to make a crane, so that was stage 2, “my life sucks” (but I understand that not all life sucks)
- Once I could build a crane I felt good and proud of my accomplishment. This was stage 3, “I’m great” (with the implied stage 2 for anyone still struggling, “and you’re not”).
- The last round was as a team competition – trying to build more cranes than anyone else. This was stage 4, “we’re great” (and you’re not).
- We never got to stage 5!
Since then I’ve seen some brilliant individuals stuck in stage 3 (I’m great, you’re not) and so struggle to create a team. I’ve seen people exhibiting stage 3 behaviour that brings about stage 2 (my life sucks) reactions in others. I’ve seen glimpses of stage 4 and have been working on exhibiting that behaviour and encouraging others to reach that stage as well.
I’ll probably write more about Tribal Leadership in the future as I’m a definite believer.