When in a position of leadership, how much does a leader’s lack of faith in a subordinate actually create their downfall? Is there some kind of derivative of a self-fulfilling prophecy that happens here?
To put it another way, will I, as a leader, only ever get as much as I expect out of the folks I try to lead? Is there some kind of projected glass ceiling of progress or productivity that I fabricate over their heads?
Or can a leader’s unwavering belief in a person actually help propel them towards success?
I believe this to be true. I have personally been in a number of situations where it appears as though a protege simply needs someone else to believe in them… and, perhaps most, to believe in them even when they can’t believe in themselves.
I am hopefully always learning more about myself. It is one of my constant projects: to figure out why I act the way I do. One thing I have learned is that I’m so confined within my own skin that it’s often a Sisyphean battle to even understand WHAT I’m doing half the time, as most of my movements have become completely rote programming. But every once in awhile something breaks through, and a light bulb turns on.
I imagine I’m like one of those Lite-Brite machines from the 80’s… eventually — just maybe, someday — I can light up enough LED’s to actually get a complete picture of me.
At the nonprofit I work with, we’re currently looking for a person to take over our one of our departments. I’ve learned that I have an overwhelming tendency to be extremely optimistic when it comes to people. I always think they can accomplish great things, often more than they may even think. But at the same time, I’ve learned that a myopic view of only seeing “potential” and not necessarily “reality” can also have a dangerous edge. I know how crucial it is to have the “right people on the bus” and that making a hasty decision on the front end is a very costly error, in more ways than just financially.
But as we look to add people to our staff, or to grow the participants we already have for that matter, isn’t it more dangerous to set expectations too low, instead of too high?
In any kind of relational setting, be it an organization or a friendship or a marriage, isn’t there just something about the complete audacity of hope (to quote that other guy); hope that each person involved can change and grow and become more than they currently are?
Isn’t there just something grand about always looking for the best in people instead of expecting the worst?
The greater danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and miss it. Rather, it is that we aim too low and reach it.” — Michelangelo
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We Are What We Choose (2010 Princeton Baccalaureate Remarks by Jeff Bezos) by Josh Allan Dykstra on June 20th, 2010