This is the age-old question on Leadership: is it nature or nurture?
There seem to be a whole lot of conflicting messages out there on the endless debate of whether or not a great leader is one who has inherited the leadership gene. When scientists finally discovered that the Earth was indeed not flat but orange-shaped, the mystery was solved and that was that. Yet, whilst we await the final verdict on the "truth" about leaders and the wiring of their brains, I wonder just how keen we really ought to be on being labeled one way or the other, and would it really be doing us a favour to be labeled "leader" or "follower"?
I am inside the Apple store in Nice, France, and observing the running of the show. Lots of blue t-shirts are sprinkled evenly over the shop: I count 18 employees in total. Tattoos are bared; shaven heads, goaties and studded belts are sported - Pretty much anything but the "conservative" look. The Blue T-shirt unifies their identity as staff, and they are all busily engaged with customers. Whilst the store is packed with people wanting to browse around, check out the latest laptop or have an Apple product repaired, harmony reigns. In fact, the noise level is very pleasant despite about 30 conversations going on at the same time in the same place.
It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., on a scorching summer day of August 1963, to hundreds of thousands of civil rights supporters that the moral leader Dr. Martin Luther King declared: "I have a dream". Indeed, what he didn't say was: "I have a plan".
There is a very popular expression in the French language: "Il n'y a rien à dire" which, when literally translated into English ("there is nothing to say") loses its meaning altogether. "Il n'y a rien à dire" is used in everyday language to recognize that something is, indeed, perfect. However, there doesn't seem to be an English equivalent, where you compliment someone with a negative. Having asked a handful of French friends, it indeed insinuates that the person saying it has searched (quite possibly unconsciously) for errors in vain and so resorts to the fact that because there aren't any, "il n'y a rien à dire" – "there is nothing to say".
"If you could be the superhero of your choice for a day at work, which one would you be?"
This was the starting question to a team exercise we were invited to do at a workshop I recently attended. Each team was given 20 minutes to prepare a presentation of the team's purpose, its members and their roles, and how they were going to reach their common goal.