Pearls before Swine?

I spent an hour and a half with an emerging leader who didn’t appreciate my pearls of wisdom. I’d like to think he wasn’t wise enough to understand my “wisdom” but that’s not true.

I always end all leadership conversations with, “What did you get from our time together?” As usual I asked.

We’d discussed several relevant leadership strategies and techniques. I was intrigued to hear the topic that got the most traction.

His response was another reminder that Frances Hesselbein nailed it when she said, “Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do.”

Without hesitation, he said, “Hearing your leadership journey helped me the most.”

He’d asked a couple questions about me and I’d briefly answered without thinking much of it. My story isn’t glamorous. I like to say, “If we learn more from our failures than our successes, I should be a genius.” I’m dead serious.

The real pearl of wisdom:

The principles of leadership are not as powerful as the person behind them.

Ripping off strategies and techniques might work, briefly. Leadership longevity is, however, about you first. Second, it’s about aligning leadership-techniques with who you are and the situation you are in.

Listening-skills illustrate my point. Skillful listening techniques may work over the short-term. But, you need genuine interest in others in order to help them feel listened to.

Living by techniques that don’t align with who you are eventually destroys you and your influence.

I thought I was sharing pearls of wisdom. In reality, I relearned one.

What ideas, suggestions, or questions are you thinking in relation to this article?