What Makes a Great Leader

Chances are you do what is comfortable.

But that’s not what makes you successful. What makes you successful is actually to live in the tension of discomfort. If you do that, then you’d be willing to peek around the corner to see that thing(s) that will “disrupt” your work / industry / marketplace. You’d be willing to challenge something you’ve always taken for granted as “true” because only then can you learn something new. And you’d be willing to see the world through a new frame, which can often be the key to find new solutions to old problems.

The problem is that, as humans, we all have a preference to spend time with people who are more like “us” and with ideas we already agree with — this is to choose knowing over unknowing, and to accept the existing frameworks in place (because then we know the rules by which winning happens).

SO therein lies the tension. By default, you will choose comfort. And, as I’ve written before, there is a huge cost to comfort. With intention, you can design for discomfort.

Here, Roselinde Torres shares research on what makes a great leader:

I thought her insight was in this question: what practices can you put into place on your calendar to help you diversity what you are exposed to — what will you read, where will you go, who will you engage with? Design for that, and you design to be successful. To move past, as she says, the comfortable predictability of yesterday but for the speedy realities of today and all the unknown possibilities of tomorrow. This is what makes a great leader in the Social Era…

2 Responses:

  1. Alex Krasne. February 27, 2014 at 6:41 pm  |  

    Great leaders aren’t heads down, they’re looking around corners. Loved this line and her message. Valuable insights…thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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  1. What Makes a Great Leader - Nilofer Merchant | ... - February 23, 2014

    […] Instead of doing what is comfortable, the best leaders put into practice ways to be deeply uncomfortable.  […]

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