A Lesson in Leadership from the Grinch

A Lesson in Leadership from the Grinch

Category : Leadership , Training

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You probably remember the story about how the Grinch stole Christmas. It’s a beloved children’s book by Dr. Seuss, an animated TV show and a couple of movie adaptations, including one out right now.

In the story the Grinch hates Christmas because of all the noise his neighbors, the Whos in Whoville, make each year when celebrating it. He thought that if he stole all their Christmas decorations, presents and food he could stop Christmas from coming. Unfortunately, he figured out too late that Christmas would come without all the trappings. The Whos celebrated just the same because Christmas doesn’t come from a store. He realized that, “Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Well folks, that’s the same way it is with leadership. Leadership doesn’t come from a store. You can’t learn it from books, workshops or seminars. Leadership is a lot more. You must possess certain innate qualities to reach the highest levels of leadership, namely, humility, empathy, vision and risk-taking. Sure, you can lead a team or a department without a lot of these qualities. That’s what a functional leader does. If you want to excel at leadership and become an exceptional leader, you need these qualities in abundance.

Just think about it. How many exceptional leaders have you met achieved their position by learning leadership from a class or a book? Not many. How do you teach someone to be humble or empathetic? You can’t because they wouldn’t be authentic. Exceptional leadership is not learned from a book or a class. It starts from within {he said with some sass}.

You might be tempted to say, “But Bryan, don’t you write books and teach classes on leadership development?” I would respond, “No, I don’t. I train people to understand their innate leadership qualities to create a personalized, continuously-improving leadership plan that is adaptable to almost any situation.” There’s a big difference between teaching and training.

I’ve taught at the university level for over 10 years now. When you teach something, there is little variability in the outcome. You either add and subtract and get the right answer or the wrong answer. You can prepare your marketing plan the right way or the wrong way. The content may vary from person to person or group to group, but by and large, the concepts and my expectations as their professor are the same.

On the other hand, when you train someone, you are preparing them to recognize and adapt to a variety of different situations and circumstances. A great example is the way military personnel are trained. They are given basic training to help them recognize and react to various scenarios. Medical professionals are taught human anatomy, but trained on how to perform procedures, usually with variations added in to the scenario so that they will be prepared to properly react when their case is not of the textbook variety .

That’s what we do in our Professional Leadership Training Program. We help people to understand who they are as a person and as a leader and provide them a process to help them build a personalized, continuously-improving leadership plan that is adaptable to almost any situation they may encounter.

So if you want to continue to be like the Grinch, and believe leadership is a skill you can cinch, or learn from a book or in a class, then I’m here to tell you to forget all that jazz. 🙂


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