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Leaders Who Go from “I” to”We” (Guest Post)

Once again my blog has been graciously taken over my a fellow blogger. Today’s guest is T.J. Tison, where she shares her story on her recent opportunity to have breakfast with a business industry leader. Here is her story:

“The journey from “I” to We is a long one.”-Bill George

I was recently blessed to hear Bill George speak at a leaders breakfast.  Bill George is business thought leader, Harvard Business School professor, and former CEO of Medtronic, and a man of strong faith. When it comes to being an effective leader, we would be wise to sit up and take notice when Bill George speaks.


I did listen. One thing that stood out the most to me that morning was, as leaders, we need to take the journey from “I” to “We”. That journey can be a long one.

Bill was once told that he wasn’t getting the best out of his team because he was forcing them to do his bidding without hearing their ideas. Early on in college he was encouraged to change the way he tried to lead because he was making it all about himself.

Bill was operating as most leaders do. But he decided to intentionally change the way he led. It was a long, but worthwhile journey. Bill chose to make that change and you can too.

Some leaders never make that change. They operate as an “I” leader until the day they retire, or die. We have all worked for a few of those.  It’s all about them, and their agenda, and their primary concern is themselves.

Conversely, the “We” leader decides to put others before themselves, regardless of their position. They desire to empower those they work with instead of lording their power over them. Sounds familiar? As believers, we follow a “We” leader in Jesus, who never did anything to benefit himself over others. He always took the team approach and sought to empower those who were under Him.

Here are some other differences evident in the “I” and “We” leaders:

  • “I” leaders think they can do it on their own.
  • “We” leaders know they need a cohesive team to make it.
  • “I” leaders make decisions that serve their self-interest purposes.
  • “We” leaders make decisions that serve the purpose of the whole.
  • “I” leaders are arrogant.
  • “We” leaders are humble.

Which of those look most like you? Are you willing to go on a journey from “I” to “we”? Here’s 3 steps to start you on your way:

1. Change your pronouns

Start talking only in “we” and “us”, and no longer in “I” and “me”. Just the simple act of changing the way we speak can change our mindset. As our mindset changes, our attitudes and actions will follow. It may sound simple. But try it for a week. You’ll be surprised how often you use the “I” word.

Jesus was pretty clear about how important it is that we serve those that we lead. He set the example as He washed His disciple’s feet. (Jn 13:1-17) Do we take that same posture with those we lead?

2. Adopt this battle cry

“I have nothing to lose, and nothing to prove.”

Let this be your mantra whenever you are tempted to act based on your defensiveness or need to be right. When you are secure in yourself, you don’t have that chip on your shoulder to prove yourself to the world around you. And you can be open to evaluation by others, regardless of the veracity of their words.

Jesus truly lived out this battle cry. He had nothing to lose, because all was in His hands. He had nothing to prove because He knew who He was, and whose He was.

As believers, we have no right to have an attitude of arrogance.

Apart from God, we are nothing. (Jn 15:5)

3. Live in grace, walk in love

The journey from “I” to “We” can be a long one. You are going to mess up and make mistakes along the way. Give yourself grace, walk in it everyday.  It will help you forgive yourself as well as those around you.

Walking in love simply means to put others needs before your own. That is part of being a “we” leader.  This doesn’t mean that you are a soft, and squishy pushover, it simply means that you recognize that every human being is worthy of love, honor and respect.

Jesus lived in grace and walked in love in order to set an example for us to follow. Understanding God’s grace and love can help us to better impart it to ourselves and those we lead.

You won’t get from “I” to “We” in one week, one month, or even one year. But taking these three steps will help you start that journey.

Will you decide to go from “I” to “We”?

How can this journey change your life beyond your work?

In what other ways do you see Jesus as a “We” leader?

What other steps would you add to start on this journey?

Guest Blog Bio:

T.J. Tison is in full-time ministry as a business entrepreneurtj small who is passionate about guiding small businesses to realize their full potential through financial accuracy and strategic advising.

As passionate as she is about business, T.J. is even more passionate about helping others achieve full-faith living.  T.J. seeks to connect people’s faith and work, helping them make the Sunday to Monday leap, where full-faith living drives every area of their life. TJ Logo

In 2013, T.J. founded the non-profit organization, Working Women of Faith which seeks to equip women of faith to live out their workplace calling to the glory of God.  Through writing and speaking, T.J. guides both men and women to do their work for God.

T.J. and her husband of 24 years enjoy their peaceful hobby farm in rural Wisconsin, and have two grown children.

Connect with TJ: LinkedInTwitter EmailTJ’s Website Working Women of Faith





About TJ

2 Replies

  1. Candace Crosby

    Beautiful words that can cut through the crap and penetrate the heart. Very softly and articulately spoken, what hit home was the phrase “I have nothing to lose and nothing to prove”. The older we get, the more we realize we must truly be servants to others in all walks of life. It helps set the tone both at work and home and makes life easier. Jesus very patiently portrayed this throughout His life, which we should all strive to emulate.

    1. Right on, Candace! I love your observation of how serving others makes life easier all around. So true! Thanks for sharing!