Tu y yo: A thought on collective leadership
These chairs are well known in Yucatán, Mexico. This shot was taken in Mérida, where I have been for the past several months of the pandemic.
They are known by a few different names, but the one I like best is sillas tu y yo. Or, me and you chairs. They were also popular in 19th century France, where they were known as le confidant — implying that they were intended for private, confidential conversations. There is even a three-person version, which is geometrically quite beautiful.
All over Mérida, you see people sitting in these, talking away. Albeit, masked at the moment. They instantly create a sense of intimacy and shared focus — a private world in the public sphere.
It makes me think about these in-between times. How when plans and strategy fall apart in an unpredictable world, all we really have is each other and the worlds we create together. And how important that is.
In a time where it can be hard to find our bearings, we can be each other’s bearings. In a time where it can be hard to trust, we can give each other trust. When the future is unclear, we can seek each other out to imagine and design forward.
I definitely have introvert tendencies. Yet I know that the best work I’ve done, and the best aspects of my life, have been done in partnership. Similarly, I’ve been seeing and feeling in my work with clients and teams that more than ever, we need each other — to help see what the other isn’t seeing, to build each other’s courage and belief, to navigate this time of strange change.
Despite this, the tools that help us work over distance, even the phrase “remote work”, seem to conspire against this need. So I call on all of us to make the effort to find each other across time and space, to sit and see together — tu y yo.