In Larry Phillips’ The Tao of Poker, a great emphasis is placed upon the emerging player to learn the techniques and tactics and methods of others as a means to develop style, strategies and processes that he or she can enhance continually over time. As Louis Asmo is cited in the book, “Watch, learn…and emulate“.
Leaders, too, develop in variety of ways. They grow from their experiences and positions in which they are able to utilize their existing skills and talents in newer, broader, perhaps even less-defined settings. Leaders also grow from the interactions and the sharing of roles and responsibilities that each person within a given setting offers and contributes as part of the interactive process. In time, the strongest of these traits begin to influence and affect the manner in which other members of the group approach similar responsibilities, tasks or assignments.
The process of becoming influenced however is not the exclusive means with which a leader gains a wider perspective, a more effective skill-set, or a more complete understanding of his/her purpose or the organization they serve. The most profound of these advancements in every leader’s repertoire is actually the ongoing product of active choices the leaders make in learning–then using–their newest information, and in constantly evolving ways.
Consider the following quote by Tsunetomo’s Hagakure, from the Book of the Samurai:
“It would be good to make a model and to learn from [that]. To do this, one should look at many people and choose from each person his best point only. For example, one person for politeness, one for bravery, one for the proper way of speaking, one for correct conduct and one for steadiness on mind. Thus will the model be made.”
There are two powerful points to draw from Tsunetomo’s words. First, note that the suggestion causes the learner to choose from many sources–and that in order to do that, the learner must seek more and diverse attributes in an effort to develop. Secondly, it is equally imperative to understand that the finest examples of the values and qualities with which learners–and leaders–seek to develop from can in fact be found all around them, and often very much within their organizations. That literally suggests that the best of our organizations quite often do have the assets and skills to achieve great success together.
It becomes the responsibility of the leader during this growth, that these same qualities found within others are cultivated and nurtured so that as many colleagues within the organization can enjoy similar opportunities and growth, thus leading to a remarkably advanced team capable of shared learning. As this process achieves a tangible level and range of momentum, the leader then can identify additional and strategic moments to integrate the proven qualities of other successful performers–even from other organizations, industries and professions.
In time, the leader will have provided a new area in the expanding foundation of learning and shared experiences that will add greatly to the trust, confidence and success of her/his team.
Source, “The Tao of Poker” by Larry W. Phillips, 2003.
This article was originally published at http://www.careersingovernment.com