I listened to a TED talk this weekend. It was by Yves Morieux. He spoke on smart simplicity; too many rules and layers get in the way of being effective. I agree. But what struck me about his talk and his conclusions was that he spoke about cooperation. It was fantastic, not revolutionary in the sense that anyone would say all business, teams, need cooperation to succeed. But that in reality, how many actually practice this value on a daily basis?

A former co-worker is having issues at her current workplace. What issues:

  • she asks too many questions,
  • she escalates too many times, etc., etc

The bane of her existence, a newly hired director for client relationships that:

  • doesn’t want to participate in meetings,
  • doesn’t want to answer questions,
  • and really, doesn’t want to work.

How do I know? I’ve worked with both at different agencies. I know these personalities firsthand.

There is a huge gap around cooperation when it comes to my former co-worker who is having a difficult time right now. This newly hired director does not value cooperation. They happen to be good-looking, very good at managing up, and even greater at smoke and mirrors. The right way to go about figuring out how to fix this situation is to stand back and analyze if business is doing better and expanding under the influence of the new hire or is it shrinking. Sadly, everyone is looking the other way. Easier to let go of a less senior person than it is one that is supposedly more senior.

If someone on the team has a question and it is relevant to the project, as a leader, be available to answer it. Cooperate.

If the team is struggling with client requirements, help them find solutions that will support the work being done day-to-day and ensure the client is happy. Cooperate.

A really simple but overlooked leadership quality, be available. That is your job; make sure that when people reporting to you or working with the team you are heading up, make sure you are there for them. Leadership means knowing what to do and when to do it. Cooperate.

As Yves Morieux said in his TED talk,

“you need to reward those who cooperate and blame those who don’t cooperate. The CEO of The Lego Group, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, has a great way to use it. He says, blame is not for failure, it is for failing to help or ask for help. It changes everything.”

And so it does.

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