There are many great leadership books out there and like many I love to learn from the insights of others. At the same time there are often some harsh realities that you never discover or are perhaps skimmed over in books and training.
- Creating a vision is actually pretty hard. For a few coming up with a clear vision which they are totally passionate about is really easy. For the majority coming up with this big aspiration is actually pretty tough.
- People don’t neatly fall into buckets. We all like to categorise people into certain buckets or types. You know the ideas of certain professions being creative, dynamic and extroverted while others are dull or boring. Some of this is reasonable but being too rigid can actually be counter-productive.
- Change is a lot less about process and a lot more about people. You can have the best tools, project plans and change programmes but if you can’t shift hearts and minds it is all in vain.
- Teams don’t always work in perfect harmony. In fact in some of the best teams there is what is best described as healthy constructive interaction.
- The figureheads or public facing leader are not doing it all single handedly. We can really easily buy into the belief that entrepreneurs and leaders like Richard Branson, Lord Sugar, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are doing it all. The reality is they are supported by great teams.
- The best leaders are all charismatic and extroverted. The reality is that some of the best are just quiet and introverted and let others take the limelight. They have a knack for looking to attribute success to others.
- People who are supposedly trying to achieve the same thing don’t always pull together. I noticed this a lot when I worked in the NHS where there was often a lot of silo working.
- People put the customer first. In reality people put their own interests first and what it means for them in many cases.
- People are great at spotting the problems but a lot less are ready to offer solutions. Anyone can find problems but not everyone can find solutions.
- Change does not happen overnight and in fact making meaningful and sustainable change is likely to be more like a marathon than a sprint.
If you have some of your own experiences to add why not go ahead and leave a comment?
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professional people become great leaders and managers. Sign up for his free audio e-course Leadership Success at www.goalsandachievements.co.uk.