in this world, it is basically impossible to avoid associating with other human beings. Humans are hard-wired to be around each other. As proclaimed by Aristotle, humans are social animals and that society is something that precedes individuals. Instead of one lone human, a community of people have the potential to develop more. This notion also stands in many parts of our lives especially our work environment. Two heads are better than one, right? One simple comparison is DC’s Batman and Superman.
I’m putting together a team of people with special abilities — Batman
That one quote sums up DC’s motion picture, the Justice League. The whole movie’s main development depends on Batman’s decision of putting the team together—which ends up to be one of the biggest forces in DC’s franchise. But how does having a group of heroes differs from other Batman’ solo movies or more importantly, what really is individualism and collectivism?
Individualism vs Collectivism
Individualism—specifically in work—is defined as believing that working alone is the best option to get the highest productivity. Whereas work collectivism is where they oppositely believe that a team of different individuals working together have a bigger impact and outcome than working alone. For instance, take Batman and Superman. The latter seems to be comfortable working solo. But, on the other hand, Batman is seen working throughout the entire series with at least one other person, either Alfred, Robin or the Justice League team. Hence, it is inevitable that these two types also have different goal settings. As individual goal setting is to optimize only self productivity and quality, team goal setting takes into account every individual equally in the team for the same said outcome. This is because team goal setting considers the accumulated efforts as a success instead of each separate efforts. In short, their main principle lies in the collection of people coming together to achieve a specific goal.
A superhero with no superpower is thus merely an ordinary man. Then, how does Batman precedes this general archetype of a superhero? Batman’s portrayal of superheroes is one where he emphasizes on hard efforts—specifically group effort—in achieving a goal such as executing a heroic act. Likewise in our work environment, a CEO without his/her team thus won’t nearly have as much impact on the outcome.
A hero can be anyone, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat on a young boy’s shoulders to let him know the world hadn’t ended — Batman
The role of a leader in collectivism
The role of a CEO—likewise of a hero—is not much different to one’s of a man or in this case an employee. A team is supposed to be one single entity with a collection of people including the leader. Thus, a CEO should be working as much as the employees in the sense that they are on the same level of importance. A great leader would highlight each role contributed by everyone and how they are very much needed. Furthermore, instead of indicating a sense of superiority or inferiority on any member or side of the team, the accumulation of efforts from every side will benefit the team as one accomplishment. Individualism is only effective to a certain extent in a company. Collectivism in a team is far more important as a leader would understand that certain capabilities possessed by every individual in the team differ. Likewise in Justice League, Batman might not have any certain superpower but he realizes that all these superheroes on his team each have different skills. He prioritizes that instead of ANY solo hero or himself, the Justice League is formed as one hero.
Every single worker—including the CEO—works and does the same level of hard work contrary to many idealizations of a CEO’s role. The only addition to the role is that a CEO leads at the same time. Do you ever wonder why it took Batman—the only one without a certain super ability—to assemble the team? Batman exhibits that one characteristic that the others’ lack, leadership. Batman’s initiative in planning and forming a team itself exemplify a leader’s vision of optimizing the outcome by having a group of individuals with different skills to save the world. A leader knows the strength of working in a team towards a goal rather than individually. The CEO himself or herself would unavoidably have a weakness and thus to achieve great success it is absolutely necessary to work with other people. Thus, the aim is adding someone else that would balance his weakness and the team’s weakness, creating an a team that moves together synchronically.
Everything’s impossible until somebody does it – Batman
Furthermore, finding a good balance is extremely crucial for a leader, not doing everything individually but also not ordering people or bossing around. A leader should always have first-hand access to the works by working side by side with the employees. The role of a CEO is indeed portrayed through leading. This includes both acting as a leader and setting an example by leading the right attitude. Initiates and starts the productivity of the work and smartly delegates work to each employees’ capabilities. A leader acknowledges that some people can do better what he can’t do best. Hence, a leader adds people who think is better than himself. The aim is to promote the whole team as one entity instead of himself.
Although Superman’s dead, Batman strives to bring back Superman because he believes that everyone is important to achieve the goal. Belief is very important to start with, and the team’s efforts together make the belief turns into success. As such, everyone would get demotivated or devastated sometimes about work, performance and outcome. However, in a team, the members are in the same shoes and aware of the situation thus they would be able to empathies the most and offer fitting encouragements. Handling these downfalls alone are harder to rise up from. Not to mention, in a team, everyone would also have the same goal. In turn, they are thus aware of the process and period of each process. Having the same understanding of the work’s technicalities ables them to coordinate the work more efficiently with each other. The beliefs held by each member’s role in the team provide encouragements and confidence to keep aiming for the utmost success. Just like how at the end, the Justice League team manages to bring Superman back from the dead as they believed in everyone’s different abilities to help overcome the many struggles.
Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up – Batman
Innovation is the key, but don’t just innovate for the sake of innovation!
Similarly, leaders utilize tools, technologies, innovation and team productivity. Innovation has always been the key to Batman. Batman utilizes his present available options such as his wealth, athleticism and ability to obtain the most advanced and sophisticated technologies. But, it is important to stop chasing after everything new. It is hard to keep up with never-ending trends in tools and technologies. Instead, foremost, make use of what you have and fill the gaps with useful ones. Do not use every new technology as a mean of following the newest update. However, surveying the market for the sake of assisting and improving the task should be the main goal. Great leaders always find better solutions by minimizing the gaps. Identify what is lacking in the team. Find loopholes. Recognize what you have vs what you need. Strictly balanced between those two.
Essentially, collectivism is far more important to create a hero-team that works together to achieve the highest success. Just like how Batman disputed Aquaman’s acclamation that “a strong man is strongest alone” by saying “that’s actually the opposite of what the saying is”. Till the end, he indicates his strong belief that working together as a team depicts the true act of heroism: team heroism and that is exactly what brings a team closer to the success.