The Road Map to Leadership

11 08 2010

Sometime last year I was reading Seth Godin’s book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” and in it he mentions something he calls the road map to leadership. This is a fantastic book on how to make you indispensable as an employee. But I wanted to focus on something he wrote on leadership.

Basically, some people would come to him and ask him the best way to be a leader. His point was that there was no road map to leadership. Each and every leader has to find his or her own path. To be a good leader, you usually have to fail a lot first. You make mistakes, you fuck up. But you learn from them. If you’re a good leader, you don’t keep on making the same mistake over and over again. Hopefully you make entirely new fuckups.

But you grow and you learn. And eventually you do great things. And as a leader you will have to deal with people who come to you with complaints about what you are doing. Some are very passionate, some are just real jerks. All want you to hear them.

This leads me to a second point I want to make. I was listening to a podcast (Restaurant Guys Radio Show, if you’re curious). In it there was a wine maker that was talking about how to get results with your critiques. I liked her approach. While not Lifestyle related, I like learning what I can from whom I can.  No sense reinventing the wheel.

What she said is that if you want to make a difference with your criticism, don’t just say they are missing up. Give them options. If you see me fuck up, and you want to tell me about it, the way not to do it is to come to me and say, “Void, you are fucking up.” You need to come to me and tell me in what way I am messing up and what clever way you have about how not to fuck up in the future. Just coming to a leader and saying that they are bad and can’t do crap is a quick way to be ignored. Not that they want to, but that they have to focus on the issue at hand. Unless you have a solution, then it is probably best to be quiet.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for this evening. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on these subjects.


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