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 Make good leaders great

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TianHua
Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant


Number of posts : 456
Age : 24

PostSubject: Make good leaders great   10th January 2009, 10:36

One of the major failings of many leadership development programs is that they don't expect enough. Michelangelo stated, "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it?

Too many good leaders feel that being good is “good enough". They don't believe that they are personally capable of achieving superstar levels of performance. They believe that extraordinary leaders are prodigies, having been endowed with some unusual gifts from birth. They watch amazing leaders the way many people watch concert pianists and think, "It would be fun to be that good, but I could never do it. I just don't have that much talent."

However, innate natural talent is not the best predictor of who will become the excellent concert artists - or the extraordinary leaders. What makes the difference is discipline.

As one professor explained, “Discipline is always more important than some natural ability. With some dedicated practice, those with discipline will surpass those with natural ability in a few semesters. Without discipline and the ability to learn, those with natural ability will never progress above their current ability.” In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence that shows concert musicians are so good simply because they have practiced two to four hours a day for over 10 years. They just had the interest and discipline to do it!

Most individuals, as they become managers for the first time, go through an intense learning period. They receive a great deal of training and personal coaching and are open to ideas and suggestions from experienced managers. They take time to plan meetings and performance reviews and how they will give feedback to direct reports. They also pay close attention to others, watching to under- stand techniques and skills. They are practicing leadership with the intent to get better. Their learning curve is steep.

Once they get reasonably competent at being managers, they switch from practicing to playing. Playing at leadership is inherently more fun, but skill development is very slow and sometimes stops altogether.

To improve everyone's leadership ability:

Push for improvement from everyone: Blaming bad leaders for the company's woes is too simple. Accept the need for everyone to undertake some level of improvement.

Take an interest: Why are some students willing to practice longer and harder? The key difference does not seem to be ability, but interest. Become an astute observer of leadership and implement what you see modeled.

Practice - don't play - at leadership: Bad leaders assume that deliberate practice makes no difference, so they continue to perform, but never improve. Good leaders keep their focus and continue to build skills long after they achieve an adequate level of performance.
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