“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood … and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” These famous lines from the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken describe our lives on a regular basis. Daily and weekly we face choices. Often these paths seem little different, yet upon examination one is shown to be traveled less than the other.
In leadership, it is good to take the road that others avoid. Leadership is a trait that is developed. There are a few who are “born leaders,” but even these must develop their character or in the end it will go to waste as they will eventually fail and fall. About 95% of all leaders were developed by being mentored by another or by being thrown into a crisis situation. Many of these did not show potential early in life, yet they developed into remarkable leaders.
As I develop leaders, the mantra which has emerged is “get them in over their head.” The concept is that if things are too comfortable, a person will not develop. Getting them into situations where they are forced to step up or to face their own deficiencies is a good thing even if they fail! Continue reading
For years, as I have mentored young men, I have joked about a book that I’d like to write entitled Dumbxxx No More: 501 Stories from My Life for You to Not Repeat. The book has yet to be written but the response is 99% positive. The only negative one came from a pastor who feared laughing at the word “dumbxxx.” He just did not know what to do in the moment.
“Knowledge is Power” goes the saying. While this is true, my observations of 4 decades as an adult is that there are a lot of stupid knowledgeable people traversing our planet. Let me explain.
There is a powerful “commodity” that you can add to knowledge that amplifies it ten-fold. It is Wisdom! There are a lot of people who have great knowledge but demonstrate significant deficiencies in the realm of wisdom. Continue reading
I stumbled upon a marvelous leadership principle by accident some 10+ years ago. I was reading The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. He stated the the single most important thing that we can do to develop leaders is to get them in over their heads. At first, I was surprised. I took a few minutes to ponder this unexpected thought. It challenged my thinking and my style.
Up until that moment, I had focused on protecting those I led. In short, I was a helicopter leader, which meant that those I led were stunted by my myopic style. Suddenly, a different seed had been planted in my mind. It germinated and grew to a thought that attracted me. Had I really, unintentionally, kept young men from developing? Yes, I had! Continue reading