Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out

Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out
Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out


This article is a summary of the article “Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out” on HBR (i.e. Harvard Business Review). In this era of fast-paced industries and relentless career growth, we often find ourselves asking, “how can I push harder?” However, the real question should be “where can I let go?” In a captivating piece by Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg, published in the Harvard Business Review, she provides a refreshing perspective on shifting from an ego-driven approach to a co-driven one, emphasizing the importance of helping others perform to elevate the entire team’s performance.

The Ego-Drive and Co-Drive Dilemma

In our early career stages, our personal achievements fuel our ego-drive. However, there comes a point where we need to shift our focus from personal growth to collective growth, transitioning from being energetic to energizing and teaching others to self-propel. This shift from ego-drive to co-drive is vital for a sustainable career, but also quite challenging. It involves letting go of command and control, resisting the urge to make detailed corrections, and allowing for informal leadership to flourish.

Reinventing Leadership

Wedell-Wedellsborg advocates for a new style of leadership that involves:

  1. Being energizing, not energetic: Leaders should strive to inspire and energize their team members rather than burning themselves out trying to set the pace.
  2. Seeking self-propulsion, not pace-setting: Leaders should enable their teams to propel themselves without constant supervision or guidance, thereby fostering a sense of autonomy and responsibility.
  3. Congregating, not delegating: Leaders should encourage collective creation and open engagement rather than merely assigning tasks.

These shifts in leadership style can enhance team performance and foster a more productive and harmonious work environment.

The Power of Generosity

Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton, found that a generous and giving attitude towards others enhances team performance. This willingness to help others is not only the essence of effective cooperation and innovation but also a key to accelerating personal performance. By focusing on others and allowing them to grow, leaders can achieve more than by solely focusing on their own progress.

The Leap to Executive Maturity

This shift from ego-drive to co-drive signifies a change in perspective often termed “executive maturity”. It requires seeing yourself as a part of an organism, putting your ego on hold, and focusing on improving the skills of the people around you. Achieving this shift can result in a greater degree of freedom and satisfaction in your work.

In conclusion, a sustainable career requires a shift in focus from personal achievements to collective success. The key to speeding up without burning out lies in helping others perform. It’s a concept worth exploring for anyone seeking to enhance their team’s performance and foster a more productive work environment.

Why This Article Is a Must-Read

This article is a game-changer for both emerging and seasoned leaders. It provides a fresh perspective on leadership and team performance, emphasizing the importance of shifting focus from personal achievements to collective success. The insights gained from this piece are instrumental in understanding the dynamics of team performance and the role of leadership in fostering a productive work environment.

Remember, the next time you feel stuck and are tempted to push harder, pause and ask yourself, “where can I let go?”


HBR (Harvard Business Review): Help Your Team Do More Without Burning Out

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