You’ve heard and maybe even used these excuses.

  • “I didn’t know that.”
  • “I don’t have time for that.”
  • “That’s above my pay grade. It’s not my call.”
  • “This organization is dysfunctional.”
  • “These processes are antiquated.”
  • “I really want to but I can’t speak up.”
  • “I know I’m right and don’t know why they won’t listen.”

These statements are deadly to your leadership whether you are saying them or someone on your team is saying them. Why? Because in this increasingly complex and stressful world, we need our teams more than ever.

Who’s Your Team?

If you take a look at your goals and objectives, who do you need to achieve them? Is it only based on your efforts or is it part of a larger collective? If it requires others, whether they are officially part of your team hierarchically or not, THEY ARE YOUR TEAM!

Yes, that person who is infuriating you and seems to be getting in your way; they are on your team. That boss who doesn’t have your back? Yep, he is also on your team. How about the project sponsor who seems distant and unsupportive of the objectives she created? You got it. She is also on your team.

The definition of your team, according to Keith Ferrazzi’s latest book, “Leading Without Authority,” is crucial to your leadership.

Your team is made up of everyone – inside and outside the company – important to achieving your project or mission.

Keith Ferrazzi in “Leading Without Authority”

As a leader, you are responsible for every member of your team. And specifically, you are responsible for co-elevating everyone on your team. Collaborating is no longer enough. Collaborating literally means working together. Co-elevation goes much deeper than that.

New Ways of Working

Clear Sense of Purpose

If we are responsible for getting our entire team across the finish line together the first thing we need is a finish line.

  • What is your big mission?
  • What is your massive transformative purpose?
  • What is your north star?
  • What are your team members shooting for?

And, most importantly, how are they (and you) going to be better at the end of the mission when you cross the finish line?

As a leader, it’s important that you know the reason… the reason that is bigger than you and anything you can accomplish alone. It is important to keep this reason the focus of your work. What impact are you going to make in your world? How are you going to make that difference? You want to make sure, especially in tough times, that you bring attention to the bigger picture. As the optimistic child said when he walked into a room filled with horse poop. “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere.” Keep your team focused on the mission.


So we have our mission, now what is this co-elevation? Co-elevation encourages a mutual sense of responsibility and peer-to-peer accountability. You hold the entire team responsible for everyone achieving and crossing the finish line together. If one team member is falling behind, slacking off, or just overwhelmed with a problem, it’s everyone’s responsibility to bring that team member back into the fold and get them back on track.

In times of stress, people tend to fall back on familiar grounds to places of comfort and knowns ways of working. So, shifts in the way that you lead your team need to start with you.

It’s time to step up your leadership and stretch yourself. I promise it will be worth it. So how are you going to do this? What is the shift that you are going to make?


In Leading Without Authority, Keith brings the concept of porosity into the fold. As a former chemist, I love this picture. He says that your job is to manage the porosity of your team.

When you think of something that is NOT porous, like steel, how does that feel? It is hard and impenetrable, right? It is not open. When something IS porous, like a sponge, it is open and accepting. How does this feel? Usually softer but definitely open.

As a leader, you must increase the porosity of the team. Porosity has many attributes. It is comprised of empathy, generosity, service, sharing, caring, authenticity, and vulnerability. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just tell your team to practice these attributes? Well, that might work (or not). So, what can you do?

To co-elevate our teammates, we must be adept at porosity. In order to do that you must be adept at opening yourself up to them. Share your mission and your heart for where you and the team are going. You want to share the value of your mission openly and honestly… the value of the mission to you, to the world and to them. You must first be of service to them and show them how this team will help them to achieve THEIR goals and become more of the person they desire to be. This might not happen in the first meeting so porosity also requires commitment, consistency, and grace.

Your Next Steps

Do you want to use the new power of co-elevation to break down silos, transform your teams, and reinvent collaboration?

If so, I invite you to join me on my next webinar on

July 1 at 12:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM CT

I’ll be giving away free resources to help you advance your leadership and lower your stress in these changing times.

Click here to get registered today!