Great Leadership Requires Teamwork, Right?

It’s a funny thing about Great Leaders. Their alphabet seems to be missing a letter. The alphabets of Great Leaders also seem to have a letter or character that appears to be missing from the alphabets that many people use. Have you figured out what letter is missing and what letter has replaced it?

Great Leaders seldom use the letter “I”. Listen carefully and you soon realize that you seldom hear, “I did this” or “I did that”. In fact, Great Leaders use the letter “I” so seldom that it is only natural to assume that it has been removed from their alphabet. Instead, they’ve added the letter (character?) “we”, as in “we did this” and “we did that”.

Assembling and using the talents of a team is one of the great talents of true leadership. It is the abandonment of the concept that one must do everything oneself in order to have it done right. It is the mark of a Great Leader to embrace the realization that together, we can do so much more that we could ever hope to accomplish individually.

I remember, as a child, hearing a story told by the great singer Tennessee Ernie Ford. He told of a father watching his son try to move a large rock. The boy tried pushing, pulling, rolling … everything he could think of. Still, the rock remained unmoved. Finally, the boy stepped away from the rock and declared that he could not move it. The father asked if he’d tried everything that could be done and the boy responded “yes”. The father thought a minute and then asked, “are you sure you’ve tried everything?”  Exasperated, the boy affirmed that he’d tried everything. The father waited a moment and then suggested that there was one more thing the boy could do. “What is that?”, asked the son. The father replied, “You could ask me to help.”

Great Leaders do not believe that they must be capable of doing all things well. Great Leaders recognize that there are people who have talents and strengths that they themselves do not possess. Great Leaders willingly accept this fact and ask those others to join a team that, together, will accomplish so much more than any one individual can achieve. And, in the end, when the goal has been met, the Great Leader gives credit where credit is due … to The Team.

Have you had the joy of being part of a team that accomplished more than its individual members could have done individually? Click “Comment” and share what made the leader of that team a Great Leader.

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at

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