It was a dilemma. The team needed leadership but there was just no one to fill the role. Several months ago, I was in a coaching session with the executive who had to solve this leadership problem. He told me that he was not going to fill the position with a person. Instead, he was going to fill it with two leaders. These leaders were completely different. Their personalities and skill sets were different. They each brought a unique perspective and experience to the team. It sounded like a recipe for disaster with confusion, miscommunication and chaos right around the corner…until he explained his plan.
He built an infrastructure that encouraged diverse thinking and required all team members to learn how to speak the language of those with different personalities and opinions. He invested his time, leading both of these new leaders toward alignment and constantly reminding them that excellence begins with culture.
The skill of two people working together who have opposing opinions and outlooks is extremely rare. Just take a look at our political landscape (I will refrain from chasing this political rabbit).
I had a conversation with my parents and my in-laws who both have been married 56+ years. What I learned was that the secret to a successful relationship is making a choice to work together. This is not an easy thing to do. Working together takes time, energy, and grit and plain old hard work. The results are well worth the investment.
Speaking of results, the team mentioned above is flourishing. The two leaders are using their skills to collaborate and make strong and effective decisions. The wise executive was right. When we choose to work together in our relationships we will make a difference.