Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash
In my readings and research, one particular story stands out, echoing a lesson that is deeply insightful and yet so seemingly apparent. This wisdom, shared by a wise man with a passion for architecture, intertwines the worlds of architectural design and leadership to reshape the way we perceive both.
In the following, I will attempt to take you on a journey through this architectural analogy that partly shaped my perspective on leadership.
The man in the story began by speaking about a simple, square house – something one would assume is the epitome of simplicity. Most would quickly say that such a house consists of four walls. Logical. Four walls come together to provide shelter, foundation, and security. Yet, as he keenly pointed out, the essence of the house doesn’t lie in those individual walls but rather in the corners where these walls meet. If one were to stack four walls merely, you’d have a disjointed structure lacking coherence. The relationship between these walls, the way they are bound together at the corners, gives a house its true form and character.
Now, drawing this parallel to leadership offers a rich tapestry of insights. Leaders, in many ways, are those walls. Strong, resolute, and forming the visible framework of any organization or endeavor. Yet, the essence of their strength doesn’t lie in their standalone capacities, but in the relationships they foster, the dynamics they establish with other pillars of the organization, and the connections they nurture. The intertwining of skills, visions, and values at these ‘corners’ builds a structure capable of withstanding challenges and weathering storms.
Consider any great leader you admire. Their brilliance is undoubted, but what makes them truly remarkable is how they collaborate, connect diverse teams, and create a harmonious synergy between varied departments or units. This harmony and connection is the ‘corner’ of any leadership endeavor. Just like in architecture, where corners lend integrity to a structure, in leadership, these bonds lend integrity, strength, and direction to any mission.
This also reshapes the way we approach leadership challenges. Instead of focusing solely on enhancing individual competencies or merely bolstering singular walls, it’s imperative to strengthen these connections. It’s about ensuring a seamless flow of communication, mutual respect for diverse skills, and a shared vision that binds everyone together.
The architectural insight doesn’t just end at understanding the importance of corners. It extends to understanding the materials used, the strength of the bond, and ensuring the corners are well-maintained. Similarly, in leadership, the nature of relationships, the strength of trust, and the continuous nurturing of these connections determine any organization’s overall resilience and success.
In my own experience at MultifamilyCollective.com, this lesson has held profound importance. The multifamily industry isn’t just about constructing buildings; it’s about constructing communities, experiences, and futures. And much like that square house, the corners, the relationships between teams, partners, and clients, truly define any project’s success and resilience.
To sum up, the next time you’re faced with a leadership challenge or are reflecting on your leadership journey, remember the architectural wisdom of the square house. Look beyond the obvious, focus on those corners, and recognize that the relationships, the intersections of skills and visions, truly shape and define the edifice of leadership. It’s not merely about being a strong wall but about ensuring that you connect, collaborate, and create corners of trust, vision, and shared goals.
About Mike Brewer
My mission is to tease out the human potential in the multifamily space.