Fast Friday with David Roberts, my dad, and former coach of the Canadian Rugby team

Posted June 18, 2010 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

My father, as I’m sure many of your own, has always been a fountain of great wisdom as it relates to life lessons.  The RoundtableTalk blog was a little quiet this week as this LeaderTalker enjoyed some R&R with my folks and, in honour of my dad and Father’s day, this word of wisdom comes from a guy who was charting his own career path before Tom Peters ever spouted the words “brand you”.

“Never listen to so-called experts.”

So proclaimed my father after being told be a self-appointed “expert” that what he was planning on trying to fix by himself was impossible.  Ever the frugal and enterprising guy, my dad was kicking himself because he had, in fact, figured out a way to fix the supposedly “unfixable” item in question.  Unfortunately, a custom order had already been placed for its replacement. 

It made me think that, as leaders, we’re often surrounded by “experts” who are quick to offer you advice, research, studies and statistics on what you need to be doing to be a better leader.  A google search on the words “leadership experts” produces over 8 million results!  We seem to have no shortage of people with opinions.  (Ironically, many have never actually led from the trenches… they’ve just observed from the sidelines.  I guess it’s the business equivalent to critics who review books, movies or art but couldn’t do said work themselves.  As they say, those who can’t do, teach.)

Now, I’m not trying to bash the leadership consulting / training machine here.  As regular readers of our blog know, we’re big fans of getting input and feedback, continuous personal development and learning from other’s experience but here’s the thing:  ultimately, the only person that can be an expert in you as a leader is, well, you.

As you develop your leadership style, make sure you don’t put too much stock in so-called experts who tell you that there are 5 or 10 or 20 things you MUST DO to be a great leader.  Really, if it were this easy, we’d all be instantly great leaders.  There is no silver bullet.  Leadership is a cycle of trying, succeeding and failing, learning, trying to be better, succeeding some more and failing faster and less often, learning some more, trying to be better, etc etc.  Every experience can teach you something and, if you’re relentless about reflecting and learning, it will help you become a better expert on you… the leader. 

Happy leading!

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