I was thinking about a confluence of things brought on by several posts or conversations:
Impetus: Dick Richards’ book, Is Your Genius at Work? and the pressure/responsibility to be one’s purpose.
Impetus: A conversation with a friendly competitor and thinking about the power of not seeing him/her as the competition.
Impetus: I was thinking about a few of the leaders I have worked with – great ones and lousy ones. And reflected on the essence of their differences.
Impetus: I sent in an inquiry to the new Virgin Galactic corporation – That’s Branson’s new space port for civilian travel being built in New Mexico.
Leadership and the potential to make a significance really boils down to courage.
- Approaching the situation from which others move away.
- Getting past internal smallness and defenses.
- Feeling a need – perhaps even a compulsion – to chart the unknown and push the envelope.
- Doing the right things in a human way to produce extraordinary results.
- Recovering from failure with more drive, not less.
- Believing in people’s capacity for greatness.
99% or us are not great leaders, but we all have the potential for greatness. Do we have the courage become our purpose? Do you believe that someone who has been a mediocre, or even lousy, leader for years can turn around and be great? I do. I have seen it. I have done it. Yes, there have been times that I was not courageous enough to lead and I still have some days or moments when I shrink. I can see that I can be either great or lousy in any situation and it is scary to think about that and take ownership for how I show up.
Every day there are lions and lambs. Are we brave enough to lead into our purpose?
Do you see how all the impetuses are related to courage? Recently, someone commented a couple times on an older post I did about leadership. You can read that here. The commentor brought up the nature versus nurture question. I had said in my post that leaders can be taught. He countered with the question that if leaders can be taught, why are there not more Jack Welches out there. Great question. I said that I thought most leadership training and development stunk.
How much time do we spend teaching and cultivating the various kinds of courage? I don’t just mean the outward heroic stuff like we see every night on the news. I also mean the courage it takes to slay our internal dragons. The courage it takes to encourage others to lead. The courage to NOT take control. The courage to say what others think but don’t utter.
Nature or nurture. I definitely think nurture. Leaders are made, unmade, and made again every day.