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Are You Gifted, Game and Generous?

30 July 2013

Allison read Three Qualities Every Leader Needs to Succeed on a Team by Peter Bregman on the HBR Blog Network and appreciated yet another practical post about how to actually become a better leader.

Tags: allison read, leadership, peter bregman, teams

I like Peter Bregman’s approach to leadership development. Lots of people talk about developing leaders, but Bregman seems to really focus on the messy details of actually putting leadership theory into practice. If you take a look at the ten posts he’s written for the HBR Blog Network in 2013, you’ll find ideas about how to say, “no,” leverage temptation into willpower, take the blame when you should, repair a relationship when you’ve made someone angry, and more.

Yesterday he wrote about the need for leaders to be gifted, game and generous if they want to move from being individual contributors to true team collaborators. Bregman’s post is about his consulting work with a company that was stagnating. The fact that the company has “grown from approximately $350 million in revenue to about $1 billion” and “the stock price went from around $10 per share to around $80 per share” certainly piqued my interest.

When Bregman first began working with the company, he observed a group of leaders who were all extremely talented in their respective areas of sales, marketing, engineering and manufacturing. However, they struggled with actually building the relationships with one another that would facilitate genuine collaboration. Bregman borrowed the formula of “good, giving, and game” from Dan Savage, a popular personal relationships columnist. Bregman believes that, “In some ways, a leadership team is no different than any long-term relationship.” (I completely agree. All of the Effective Communication Skills workshops I teach are grounded in the idea that good communication builds strong relationships which facilitate the development of great teams and ultimately, outstanding organizations.)

I imagine you have your own guesses about what it might mean to be gifted, game and generous. I spent some time trying to paraphrase, but decided you’d be better served if you go straight to Bregman’s post. I’ll tempt you with an example, “Generous. They need to put the good of the company above their own department, team, or agenda. They must be good-hearted, mutually respectful, and gracious, resisting the urge to dominate, take the upper hand, or shine at the expense of others.” I’ve spent my day thinking about how I can achieve these three Gs as our Allison Partners team grows from three employees and four contractors to six employees and possibly eight contractors by the end of 2013. Once again, I’m grateful to Bregman for pushing me to ask myself hard questions and be brave as a leader. I hope his post does the same for you.


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