Top Gun is in the movie theaters, and it’s taking me back to 1986 when the original movie came out. What was the key point of that movie? Having a wingman! Maverick had his wingman, Goose, and they complemented each other well. I want to talk to you about how to find your wingman.
We all have our leadership styles, strengths, gaps, opportunities for improvement, areas we lean into, etc. I’m outgoing, emotional, engaged, people-oriented, intense, communicative and motivating. So, who is a good wingman for me? I need someone more even-keeled, thoughtful and patient. When I go to my wingman with a full range of emotion and urgency to get things done, I need that person to check in, look at the facts and data, see where we’re at, then make a decision. I like having people on my team who engage in that way, it makes me a stronger and better leader.
Conversely, some people on my team are thoughtful, analytical, process-oriented and more introverted. So, who is their best wingman? Someone like me who complements them. Their wingman would be someone who could help bring them out in group settings and draw them into the conversation. Someone who knows they have value to add but knows it’s not their natural inclination or instinct to speak up. They need a wingman that can communicate a message to a large group and bring some intensity to complement their stability.
There are so many different personality types: introvert versus extrovert, thoughtful versus calculating, reactionary versus emotional. However, you differentiate people, you don’t want a team of all one kind. It would be chaos if we had a team of all me; we’d be bouncing all over. You also can’t have a team of deep thinkers who don’t act or all strategists who don’t execute.
Leaders must form a balance in their teams. Ask yourself who’s your wingman. Who do you need alongside you? Who complements you? Also, think about the other groups within your organization. What are their strengths, and where do they need complements? This will help you build a fully formed team. No one leader can be everything to everybody.
Think about your team and go get them, Mav!