Leadership is outdated; nobody cares about your excellence unless it benefits them. Who cares about your wise advice if it’s not actionable? No more Leadership. The rise of the Partnership. If you jump, I jump.
I’ve been on both sides, Leadership and Followership. As soon as people treat my suggestions like direct orders, that’s the end of innovation. On the other hand, if people tell me exactly what to do, that’s the end of creativity.
Leadership is a one-way direction. Whether you’re CEO or a designer, we’re all need an accountability partner to recognise our progression to grow. The Partnership is much better because it’s a two-way interaction where respect and trust are formed. If you jump, I jump.
It’s vital to show others you’re willing to listen and improve. It’s doesn’t matter whether you had a leadership title or not. You are a leader because how you do what you do will set an example for everyone else.
“Taking responsibility and being a leader is a choice”—Fred Schebesta
I once experienced this mindset firsthand. One designer complains that he can’t make a design change because he doesn’t have my job title. While another intern designer often jumps into my Figma and suggests design options. The intern got promoted and later became my accountability partner. If you jump, I jump.
Sure, everyone loves the story of a hero, but groundbreaking inventions are rarely an individual’s work. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and many more started their companies with their partners. Entrepreneurship and creative ventures don’t offer many short-term rewards. To stay long until we succeed, we need someone to keep pushing us forward.
Oh, and a team with bureaucracy is antiquated. The innovation team should work like a rock band where everyone listens to each other while playing. I am a guitarist; I know it’s essential to listen to my drummer behind me even when I lead my guitar solo in the spotlight. Music is an excellent example of a group of people with different expertise working toward a shared goal—as is innovation. If you jump, I jump.
In today’s fast-paced economic landscape, if you have to wait for the decision from the leader on the ivory tower—you’re late. Why don’t we break a big decision into a small one and spread the power across the team? Why can only management people can manage? If you can’t trust your team, you probably recruit the wrong person in the first place (see how I hire a designer). For the organisation to thrive, the skilled doers who work closely to the problems must also be deciders.