The importance of co-leadership

In the era of cut-throat competition, we’ll win not by competing but by cooperating.

“I absolutely hate this system!” V shouted, as he sat beside me, “nobody wants to be held accountable. I’m the only one working in the whole college!”

As I munched on my dinner, void of all the sympathy I had for the student coordinator, I wondered how many times I’d have to listen to him rant about the same old issue of his burnout. This had been going around for so many months now, that I’d lost all my patience in dealing with him. I wanted to get up and shout at him for not being able to handle things, but I clearly couldn’t.

V is the leader of our college — the guy everyone went to. He started a lot of things in the college that weren’t there before. From the notice boards to major events (my college isn’t all that hippie), he’s the person who’s supposed to know it all. He’s the Principal’s favorite (I’m assuming he is), and pretty close to all the teaching and non-teaching staff in the building. You wouldn’t see a peaceful version of him in the college. Never. He’s always hustling.

On a theoretical basis, you’d think he’s awesome (he is), and you’d think that he handles it all. To be honest, I thought he was climbing that ladder to the top.

But I think he could do better.

In an organization that’s always moving forward, where nobody wants to be held accountable for anything wrong in the college, where there is a sole person who is handling it (TRADEMARK), and there’s lot to be done — a lone leader who doesn’t have a faithful and responsible sidekick cannot be successful. While most of the tasks will play along, the efficiency and grandeur of this seemingly endless loop of work will decrease.

At an industrial scale, where everything’s huge and pompous and there are several things to be taken care of, would you want such a lonely position at the top (it’s just a narrow cliff)? Can you risk your efficiency and quality in a fiercely competitive market? The answer is NO.

There’s a reason why Sherlock Holmes had Dr. Watson, and why Harry Potter kept Ron and Hermione around. They’re not just extra characters placed randomly in the story to make it more interesting. They’re sidekicks — loyal, intelligent and oftentimes more creative than the hero himself. They’re the reason the hero does the great things he’s destined to do. They’re the “co-” people — the ones that stick by you, no matter what.

This is important. Friendships are important. Sidekicks are even more important. Co-leaders help you succeed. Always have someone by your side, even if that means giving some of the credit up. 
You are important, after all, not by your name but by your purpose.