25 Jun What We Learned About Leadership in Ireland


For the fifth time, my graduate business students came back from working with start-up companies in Ireland with the same three take-aways:

  1. It starts with people and it’s always about people. Connecting. Networking. Relationships. No one with heroic aspirations to make a difference in the lives of others goes it alone.
  1. Putting yourself out there, and leaving your comfort zone is the only way the magic happens. It’s about a risk posture. None of the success people the students met hadn’t failed, and adversity was the crucible by which they figured out the right path.

  1. zBalance. The students were amazed how even the start-up organizations didn’t let work consume their lives. In fact, having a life improves perspectives, abilities to team, and see opportunities they would have missed if they were burned out.

These three themes parallel what I wrote about in my book. When it comes to being self-reliant, it’s about taking charge of your own development so you can actually be reliable to those you serve. And that leader growth comes through three pathways:

  1. People. No matter where you are you need to be a mentor and be mentored. And a good relationship is always built on the law of reciprocity. That is, you’re either putting in deposits or making withdrawals when it comes to your relationships.
  1. Risk is often accompanied by adversity. It’s up to you to use adversity as a tool to learn and strengthen your resolve.
  1. Balance means stepping back and using solitude for reflection and to hear the unheard. It’s a discipline.

So what did the teacher learn?

The best students are the ones who have the Courage to be Curious. Curiosity is the precursor for Caring. Caring is needed to listen, and that’s they only way to understand. When you understand, you know what motivates, and then you’re able to inspire and lead! As Joe Pine mentioned on The Leadership Podcast recently, good leaders understand and are able to describe what happened so they can prescribe what should happen (aka vision).

My question to you dear reader – can you coach Courage and Curiosity, or do you have to hire for those traits?



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