I’m going to put a stake in the ground and claim that each of us needs to add “Live more interdependently” to our resolutions this year. Goals focused on personal acquisition are out of step with current reality. A sustainable way of living together needs grounding in sharing and collaboration in all parts of our daily lives.
My life depends on my collaborative relationships. I’ve always been drawn to working with partners and in teams, but moving into my current cooperative household on an urban homestead has made me realize how deeply I believe in living and working interdependently.
I’ve been amazed at how many of my friends are deeply curious about how well our household works. It’s spurred me to pay attention – just what is our secret? One fundamental element is that my housemates and I hold a shared belief that the level of attention, connection and communication we invest in our successful interdependence produces individual and collective benefit. Together, we are productive, learn, have fun, and expand the scope of what’s possible in so many ways. Second, we are pretty skilled at following and leading. I notice that we all have fairly strong ideas about some things and we’re not afraid to take the initiative, but we also know how to discuss things that have group impact, respect each other’s values, follow each other’s lead and actively lend support to each other’s ideas. I’ve had very similar experiences when working in very high functioning teams in organizations. In this kind of environment, mutual trust, connectedness and care about the group’s success grows strong through lived experience. Joyce Fletcher, research scholar at Simmons School of Management, states in her book Disappearing Acts: Gender, Power, and Relational Practice at Work:
working to create the experience of team is leadership of a different sort. Activities…are…intended to create the background conditions in which group life could flourish.
Developing these conditions for flourishing group life is the focus of my scholarly research on leadership and my consulting work. On January 16 in London and January 22 in Bangor, Wales, I’ll be facilitating my workshop Follow, Lead and In-Between, exploring with participants how we can gain insights and embodied experience following, leading and building connectedness in relationships.
With sincere wishes for a satisfying and interconnected new year,