You crave it, maybe even without knowing it!  It can feel like a burn inside of you, woven into the very fibers of your DNA.  Its presence is utterly transformational, both to the teams you’re in and the results you create.  And without it, you may feel alone, de-energized, and find that your motivation to be at your very best suffers.  What is that almost-magical difference-maker?

If you live in North America, you see a representation of it every day during this changing season.  You hear its unmistakable resonance speaking to you from several hundred feet above the earth.  It is the sound of Interdependence, geese flying south on the wings of one another’s strength, taking turns breaking through the wind flying point, and ever honking their encouragement from behind.

You have probably felt the power of “flying in v-formation” with others, and no doubt have experienced this uplift, and the way it ignites you to be better.  You likely are very aware of how interdependence creates the highest possible level of success, as strengths and resources are combined to bring high energy and performance to all.  Interdependence may well be our greatest human virtue, and most abundantly available (and under-used) resource!  At least it can be if you know how to access it and use it.

If you are wondering where and how interdependence exists in your life right now, and if the teams you are part of are interdependent, here are five clues to your team’s IQ (Interdependence Quotient):

  1. The team has a clear shared purpose. As team members work together toward an intention “that respects and leverages the unique strengths of each member and accelerates performance of all,”[1] they become all in. Purpose anchors and motivates individuals to do what is hard, to stay when it is challenging, and to rise above the pettiness that interferes with optimal performance and relationships.
  2. They trust each other to give and share feedback. Trust comes when team members let go of judgement of others and of self, which is often the harder challenge.  When each person offers acceptance of self and others as they are, there is a freedom to show up authentically, without fear, and all ideas and capabilities are invited into the equation.
  3. They discover they have freedom to risk, innovate, fail, and learn. Have you ever been in a team or organization where innovation was encouraged, but failure was not really allowed? Without an explicit norm about the gift of failure as a chance for learning, fear and risk-aversion often take over. When your team members see failure as a positive service to the overall outcome, it gives permission to create, and opens the best possibilities for the whole team.
  4. Each member is empowered to contribute his or her own puzzle piece. Think about a time when you were really at your best in a team or group. You were confident in what you brought to the table, and felt vulnerable enough to offer your unique strengths and way of being to help the whole team work better. This is true 100% of the time when people are playing from strong, sustained interdependence!
  5. Each team member is a leader, regardless of title or level. Leadership is about influence, and when Interdependence is in full force, each team member uniquely influences others through his or her contribution.  Some “lead” quietly from the back of the room, and some in a side-by-side collegial way, but each person’s voice valuably influences the outcome in turn.  An interdependent team allows for this “rotation” of leadership, kind of like geese rotate the role of flying point and take turns influencing the direction of the group.

Given these critical elements, how would you measure your Interdependence Quotient?  What remarkable outcomes might follow if you increased the level of interdependence with those you work most closely with? What kind of positive impact might happen for your clients or team members?  It is a difference-maker!  It is the difference-maker and can impact your results and relationships more than any single thing in your entire life.

What will you do to increase your interdependence today?

To learn more, you may be interested in downloading our free e-book, Dealing With People Who Make You Crazy found here.

This blog comes from the People Acuity Co-Thought Leader Community and is written by Lyne Tumlinson and DeAnna Murphy.

Lyne Tumlinson is a Strengths Strategy Certified Coach and part of the People Acuity Co-Thought Leader community.  She is an ACC professional coach, working with emerging and experienced leaders who find themselves getting caught up in funky team dynamics and drama, when they really want to advance their career with meaning and purpose.

DeAnna Murphy, a 23-year organizational development veteran, author, and keynote speaker, is also the CEO of People Acuity, an affiliate of Strengths Strategy, which is in 33 countries, and includes over 300 practitioners across the globe.  Her first book, Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living will be available on Amazon on January 5, 2018.

[1] Shared with permission by InviteChange, LLC.