How to build a pyramid
Posted on April 2, 2015
Recently I read an article about vision and leadership. In one part of the article, it stated that to build a pyramid you only need one person with a vision and thousands of people that can grunt.
It got me to thinking about how to build a pyramid. I mean, how hard can it be? I have piled stuff up outside, or in the center of a room. It starts with a small pile, and you just keep throwing stuff on top of it. At this point, you have to clean up the sides and make them straight. Bam! You have a pyramid.
If you want to do something impressive, build that pyramid upside down. That that would be something to see. Just think about it though, an upside down pyramid would defy physics, and people would come from miles just to see your creation.
That is where I want to bring in leadership. It is my opinion that when it comes to leadership, that is what we as leaders are trying to build, an upside down pyramid.
During training that I was leading, I recently asked for a leadership organizational chart. It was interesting to hear the responses from those in the room. Almost everyone places the leader at the top, and those being led under the leader. They place those of more importance in the team higher and those that are less important at the bottom.
The more that I thought about the idea, I decided to share my architectural thoughts on building a leadership pyramid. It sounds simple however the construction is extremely difficult.
Step one, leaders must realize that they are the ones with all of the pressure and that they are there to support the team. Young leaders will need to understand that due to their experience and gifts they will not be able to build a large pyramid. Building a large pyramid will come in time.
Step two, the leader will need to begin building a team that understands their role will be to support and encourage those “above them” in the team. Team members need to understand that the ultimate goal in a team is to support others on the team. Individualism does not have a part on any team, and the leader needs to emphasize the purpose of a team member.
Step three, if you can imagine the picture above of what an upside down pyramid looks like, you can guess the balance and pressure placed on the point, this is the toughest part of leadership. The pressure comes with balancing personalities, goals, vision, schedules, etc.
True leadership does not include the position of being “over” anyone. Great leaders understand that they are there to provide vision but most importantly they are there to serve those they lead.
This week’s experiment; Step back and look at the pyramid you are building. Are you at the top? Is your team serving you? If this is the case, flip it over. Teach your team what it means to serve and encourage. Teach them by your example.