Leader Development, thought #43678-A
In developing leaders, pain, crisis, anxiety are necessary tools.
I’m not being a sadist, rather a realist of how leaders grow, learn and become good leaders. I was talking with my mentor/boss/leader. John Hayes, pioneering founder of InnerCHANGE and author of several things, including Submerge, has just a touch of experience. Some of what came from our chat today, riding the tube in London was on this subject.
In developing your leaders, you can’t “tell them about every pot hole and certainly can’t grab the wheel and steer them around it” when they keep going when you do choose to warn them. They simply learn better by “changing the flat tire”. The going through situations is imperative as a teacher. You can’t rescue them, you can’t always be there, and they need to face it, when you’re close by to tutor them, help them learn through reflection and responding afterward, to help them process and integrate what they learn. Sometimes the best teacher is to allow pressure, anxiety, crisis to force them to come to terms with who they really are at the core as a leader. This may include minor failure. No, I’m not advocating crushing failure, but little bumps are superior teachers to our abstract theory and counsel.
This is ever more imperative when they don’t want to listen and are assured they know best. Let them give it a go. If they succeed, they’ll be more likely to listen, and if they fail, they’ll really be ready to listen. BUT this best comes after you let them give it a go. Ever met a leader who didn’t want to “do it” themselves? When the realize, the pressure tightens – these are great teaching moments. Don’t spoil it and remove it.
In those reflection moments, as they “change the tire” – clean up the mess, they learn lessons they’d never learn otherwise and they’ll learn things about themselves ONLY revealed through the heat of pressure.