By Rodney Cox
I had the pleasure recently to appear on the LeadershipU Podcast. During our discussion, the hosts Christina and Jim Angelakos asked me, “why do you think commitment is important for developing a high performing team?”
I thought that was a really good question and one worth writing about.
Many times when working with leaders they say something along these lines — if I could just find people who are as committed as I am, I would be able to…
This statement is at the heart of this article and should lead you to the real question that needs to be explored as a leader is, commitment to what?
The Employment Obligation
This may be the most common commitment you will find in the workplace. This top-down approach is defined by obligation: : “I hired you. I expect you to execute on my vision you’re obligated to my vision and you’re responsible for the outcomes.”
Obviously, this type of transactional commitment is incredibly restrictive and always leads to the loss of freedom—especially freedom of purposeful action. It builds a culture where people hide from their mistakes and fear tends to rule the culture.
The Big Idea
The second type of commitment is what will produce the outcome you are looking for and what high-performance teams are built on. This type of commitment is fostered out of a dedication to a selfless idea, one that is bigger than anyone else in the room. I’m labeling this type of commitment as, “The Big Idea.”
You see, when you start pursuing the vision of a single leader, one that supersedes an organization’s Big Idea, then people will gravitate to transactional commitment. But leaders who invite people into The Big Idea and then release people to devote themselves to the outcomes, foster faithfulness and attentiveness to each other’s actions.
I think the Corinthians are a great example of what happens when people lose sight of the big idea. Those familiar with scripture will agree that the Corinthians had great enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel “The Big Idea” yet, there was great quarreling and division amongst them. What was the source of the quailing and division? I submit to you — they lost sight of the big idea and the Apostle Paul knew a house divided against itself could not stand.
You might find yourself at this same proverbial fork in the road as a leader. You may even discover that you took the wrong fork-in-the-road many miles back. No matter where you find yourself in the journey today, take time to help your team focus on The Big Idea, and be humble enough to admit as a leader when you are off track.This type of humble leader fosters a passionate level of commitment that may even exceed your own. Strong teams are committed teams. Cultivate “big idea commitment” and your team will thank you for it.