Young, High Potential Leaders – Use Wait Time to Build Character
By Michelle Malay Carter on March 25, 2009
In terms of requisite cognitive capability, high potentials graduate from college with the ability to problem solve at work level 3 or 4.? Which loosely translates into a director or vice president type role within an organization.??I say?loosely because?we know without a collective understanding that a universal measurement system exists for work, titles are useless for benchmarking.
An Ironic Burden or an Intentional Design?
Unfortunately, generally these high potential leaders?lack the knowledge, skills, and experience to be effective in roles such as these.? It used to be that high potentials had little choice but to pay their dues as they worked their way up the ladder.? Now, they can create a website, appoint themselves president, and go, go, go.? There is nothing wrong with this; however, the percentage of flameouts (personal and/or professional)?for those who are actually successful overnight?is extremely high.
The Danger of Being a Young, High Potential Leader
A post on Epic Living got me thinking about how for a young high potential, waiting to be “tapped” into leadership can feel like being a racehorse trapped in a 10 x 10 pen.? This got me thinking about one of my favorite quotes which I think is from Edwin Louis Cole:
“A man’s talent can take him where his character cannot sustain him.”
I Wouldn’t Wish Overnight Success on Anyone
Overnight success is a seductive concept, but I am not sure humans were designed for it.? Consider, the dismal aftermath of winning the lottery for most, or for child actors, or sports celebrities.? This may be what we are seeing with our overcompensated CEOs, and our politicians who rise to the top more due to their pop star image than their?wise sage composition.
Leadership Advice I Wish Someone Would have Given Me
Overnight success might befall you, but in the meantime, if you are going to have to wait anyway, embrace the wait time as a character building experience that just might make your eventual success sustainable.? If you have to wait to earn your success, you will likely?embrace it humbly, and then use your position, power, or prestige for the benefit of humanity.?
True leaders serve.
What is the Alternative?
Your other choice is to internally grind, resent others, and create a toxic life for yourself and those around you during your wait time.? Living your life in a “just as soon as… state” means you are not living your life.
Which will you choose?? Which did you choose?