Here’s why truly smart managers expand their impact by looking at the big picture

The paradigm-shifting events of the past two years — from a global pandemic and economic crisis to a racial reckoning and rise of #remotework — have highlighted the critical role of exceptional leadership in helping people navigate a changing workplace and world.

Leading people is hard and heroic work. And in today’s climate, it’s exponentially more difficult. The stakes are high, so managers can’t lean on being smart or trust outdated mindsets and skillsets. They must be adaptive, innovative, collaborative, decisive, and able to see the big picture.

The Next IQ: Systems Intelligence

Systems intelligence is a conscious awareness of your connection to the external world. We all belong to multiple systems through our work, family, culture, and more. Systems intelligence is an invitation to collaborate across systems for the benefit of all.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” This mindset is critically important because when you understand how everyone is interconnected, you begin to see your reality, role, and responsibilities as a leader in a new light.

At its core, systems intelligence is about the betterment and improvement of human life — not just at work, but in the world.

Systems intelligence requires self-awareness and seeing how systems play out in you and with you. Systems have power, but it’s essential to realize your agency as a leader.

Take note of the systems you occupy and your spheres of influence. How are they shaping you and vice versa? How do your success and story connect to someone else’s? When you see the big picture, you can co-author stories where:

  • Collaboration supplants competition
  • Learning is as important as short-term results
  • Everyone is the “smartest” person in the room
  • Reflection balances confidence
  • Productive conflict is nurtured rather than avoided

I’ll share five ways to cultivate systems intelligence in the next essay.

This post was created with Typeshare

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I help managers lead with the confidence and competence to create thriving workplaces that unleash individual and collective potential for greatness, everyday.

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Eric Polite II

Eric Polite II

I help managers lead with the confidence and competence to create thriving workplaces that unleash individual and collective potential for greatness, everyday.

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