You cannot lead another further than you’ve gone yourself.
I wrote that thought in both the 12 and 8 playbooks, on purpose – I believe it. I believe it’s another law of nature. Here’s why. In the animal world the leader is “elected” based on strength. They remain the leader as long as they are able to prove they are stronger than their challengers. Nature rules. Nature, eventually, rules in our world too.
A high performance team will not last long working for a weak leader. A team of committed learners will not last long following someone who has decided they know it all. A team of inspired, young enterprisers will not last long working for an old settler. A team of outstanding lawyers will not last long working for a Managing Partner that’s satisfied being mediocre. A team of devoted scientists will not last long working for someone who has stopped being curious. A team of decision makers will not last long working for someone who can’t make one. A team of committed believers will not last long worshipping with a leader who has stopped becoming a master teacher.
Many of you are thinking there is a flaw in my thinking. You are thinking up examples of exceptions to this natural law. You would be right. There are always exceptions. Over time, however, nature prevails. The more money at stake and the more fear in the people, the longer the “reordering” may take. Leaders, stop arguing the validity of the sentence and start becoming a better leader. Your team won’t last long following a leader who’s stopped learning.
You cannot lead another further than you’ve gone yourself. Your leadership challenge is to keep reaching, keep going, keep stretching, and keep getting after it long after you’ve arrived. Your team, leader, is getting better. Your team wants to know you’re still in it like you were back in your younger, hungrier days. Your team is always watching and next to nothing gets by ’em when it comes to you. Funny how human nature loves to fixate on those that lead us. Funny, huh.
How you doing, leader? How you doing? Good…