Leading in Sync

compassionate constructive culture

by Melody Stacy


Fireflies flashing in the woods. Starlings murmuring in the sky. People, even strangers, rocking in chairs. What do these have in common? 

They all (yes, even us humans) have a tendency to synchronize behaviors.

This interesting, yet surprisingly common, phenomenon found all throughout nature has some particularly important implications for leading and working in teams.

Being in sync has powerful effects.

It all goes back to millions of years of evolutionary tendencies which aid in our quick response to possible threats. With this comes a synergy that, when harnessed, can mean seemingly impossible results for advancing our mission and goals.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.   - Martin Luther King Jr.

We are deeply reciprocal beings.

The unfortunate truth of our synchronous, progressive tale is that our brains tend towards the negative. It’s why gossip and toxicity can so easily take hold.

So let’s turn it around by aligning and synergizing our team around a compelling vision.

The narrative is happening, so why not shape it?

If synchronizing is why soldiers who march together can walk further and endure more pain and also why marching band members often note a sacrificial bond to their bandmates, why can’t it be how we build a resilient, remarkable team?

We all seek out belonging and connectedness. It happens occasionally by context, like concert goers clapping together to a favorite tune, but other times, we can orchestrate it intentionally.

Community depends on synchronicity. - Oliver Burkeman

Ready to mobilize the power of synchronicity? Try one of these strategies to get started.

🤲 Sync It Up: Pass the Praise

The next time you have a team gathered together, start the group off with this lesson from improv.

The goal is to pass a clapping motion, without talking, through the group as synchronized and quickly as possible. Start with one person turning to a neighbor and clapping. The partner’s goal is to clap in sync and then turn to the next person and pass it along until it goes through the entire team.

🤲 Sync It Up: Laugh Big

Science commonly points to how laughter is endorphin-triggering and stress-reducing. But did you know that we are 30 times more likely to get our chuckle on when we are in groups rather than alone?

Develop team connections via a brain-based feedback loop characterized by social bonding. Carve out time to tell silly jokes, watch amusing videos, and engage in the humor that is just plain FUN.

🤲 Sync It Up: Tell the Story

When we listen to a story, an interesting thing happens. Our brain waves begin to mirror the storytellers’.

One of the most effective ways to get our teams in sync is to tell the stories important to our core and create opportunities for others to, as well. Check out The Power of a Story and start telling those tales.

Marching in formation may not be our path to inspiration and progress, but we, as leaders, can tap into stronger connections, higher levels of empathy, and increased social bonds. And it’s by leading in sync.


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