A Barbaric Yawp

By | 2018-06-26

A different kind of post on my blog. One about leadership. Or what I consider leadership. Maybe not even that, this post is about trust, coaching, comfort zones and letting go. And for me these are the words that come to mind when you lead someone. My friend Devon Burriss already posted on different arch types of leadership if you want to know more. For me any leader needs to be able to (help) grow his team, regardless of his or hers arch type.

So why do I think, no believe, trust, coaching, comfort zones and letting go are part of leadership? Let me first introduce you to John Keating (played by Robin Williams) in the movie Dead Poets Society. In the following scene John is interacting with one of his students, and just watch what happens:

From a leadership perspective, what you see here is a classic case of pulling someone from his or hers comfort zone, coaching them to push further and see growth almost immediatly.

Comfort Zone; John pulls the student in front of the class. We all have been here, slouching so we are not picked right? But he is doing this because he wants to push him beyond his comfort zone. The student is a bit self aware, and does not want to try this poetry thing.

Trust; John is trusting that the student will be ok and will succeed outside of his comfort zone. And with that trust the student is actually trying to do the task he thought he could not do.

Coaching; As the student is trying, still not sure if he can do what his teacher is asking, John is pushing him gently and creating an environment where the student is safe and secure enough to keep trying. Maybe thinking he is failing, while in fact he is growing, right there in front of his peers.

Letting go; And the most powerful part of this scene is when John takes two steps back and watches his student do something amazing. And the letting go, by stepping back and stop the coaching, is key here. Trust your student, give him or her the space they need to grow and excel.

From personal experience this “letting go” is such a wonderful and thankful feeling and great to witness. I have not had that many experiences on this, but when it does happen, it is something you will hold dear forever. Not sure why I wrote this post, felt like something nice to do.

And as a final note, if you have not seen this movie, go watch it.

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