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Exploring Real Leadership - Part 3

Leaders Love Adventure

We discover a love of adventure and a commitment to innovation and risk-taking in leadership, which is frightening to some people. Leaders often go to the edge with their ideas and look for a myriad of out-of-the-box ways to approach an old problem or solve a new one. Often leaders are not able (or willing) to stop a project because of their passion and fascination with an idea. This trait is called drive.

Leadership drive is no more apparent than in entrepreneurs, who are often called leaders because of their uncanny vision. They are way out in front before anyone else. Time after time entrepreneurs tell the same story — somewhere along the line a person in authority told them their idea wouldn’t work. But, they did it anyway. Why? Because it was the most exciting idea they had ever tried and it was fun. You may recall the story about the yellow sticky notes. 3M thought the man who invented the idea was nuts! You may also remember how the story ended. Art Fry, the creator of post-it notes, persisted and never gave up on his idea as a worthy one. Post-it notes are some of 3M’s biggest money makers.

It is interesting to note that psychologists tell us that truly creative leaders have a child-like quality about them – they are playful in nature and highly imaginative. This quality often causes others to dismiss their contributions as immature. Albert Szeni-Gyorgyi, a biochemist and Nobel Prize winner, said “discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.” The hallmark of leadership then, is vision – seeing opportunities and turning them into solutions, or seeing something when someone else sees nothing. Leaders – childlike, immature – are often misunderstood because their eyes are on tomorrow’s needs, not yesterday’s problems.

It is said that leaders see a need and then do something about it without waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Leaders see a problem, explore solutions to solve that problem, and then take a stand by acting to implement their solution. They see new patterns. Many times their strategies for fostering change are breath taking and awe-inspiring. They take risks and are sometimes called “constructive trouble-makers.” They are constantly finding new ways to solve old problems.

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