Why You Need Independence and Interdependence to Be a Highly Effective Leader

Today’s effective leader must demonstrate both a sense of independence from traditional thinking as well as an interdependence with her or his community in order to cause change.

We’re just celebrated Independence Day in the States. In addition to the picnics, barbeques and fireworks, it’s a holiday that honors our forefathers for breaking away from Great Britain.

Here are some critical reasons why as a leader, you need to exhibit independence AND interdependence.

The case for independence…

1. Leaders must be ahead of the pack in order to lead. This requires courage and the willingness to stand out.

2. Leaders aren’t content with the status quo. They must be willing to buck conventional wisdom and act with independence.

3. Leaders must make tough decisions. Sometimes their decisions will be unpopular, but if they are the right decisions, the leaders must stand by them.

4. Leaders set high standards. They don’t succumb to mediocrity nor people’s excuses for ‘why it can’t be done’. They raise the bar on performance levels for all around them including their own.

The case for interdependence
1. No leader, no matter how capable, can bring about their big vision all by themselves. They need the support and commitment of others to make their ‘dream’ come true.

2. Leaders instill loyalty by caring for other people and demonstrating concern for their welfare. As John Maxwell said, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care‘.

3. Leaders create community, bonding people together for a cause greater than their personal and individual wants and needs. In community, people can accomplish miracles that otherwise would not be possible.

4. By definition, leaders need other people. One can’t ‘lead’ if there is no one TO lead.

Therefore, leaders are dependent on the presence of others to make possible and real their leadership role. It’s not approval they’re seeking but without other beings, there is no possibility to express leadership. Therefore, they are dependent on others to experience their Self-as-Leader and Leader does not exist.

Leaders must be competent functioning in both domains, courageously independent bucking the trend while at the same time operating interdependently with others to make magic happen.

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