Overcoming the 10 Dangers of Talent


The 10 Dangers of being Talented:

  1. Relying on talent rather than hard work. Too much winging it.
  2. Assuming what’s easy for you is easy for others.
  3. Being a threat to bosses.
  4. Unwillingness to change or grow.
  5. Alienating others.
  6. Feeling entitled.
  7. Being pigeon holed.
  8. Feeling paralyzed by too many options.
  9. Boredom.
  10. Arrogance.

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Commitment answers the dangers of talent.

Major General William Cohen USAFR Ret., author of, “The Practical Drucker,” shared his first leadership experience with me. He was asked to be a patrol leader in the Boy Scouts.

Gen. Cohen said he was concerned that anyone would follow.

“Why should they follow me?”


“I learned that people respond to commitment.”

Gen. Cohen said his patrol decided to enter a competition. “Because I was committed (to give it my best) the others were committed too. They followed.”

Talent is an opportunity to step up and work harder than anyone else.

Commitment answers all the dangers of being talented.

Helping people step up:

Gen. Cohen said tell people:

  1. They’re not omnipotent.
  2. Decisions won’t be correct.
  3. They’re going to make mistakes.
  4. There will be lot of problems.

What’s encouraging about this? It establishes expectations. It says,

  1. Get in.
  2. Get dirty.
  3. Make your mistakes.
  4. Press on anyway.

“Success can make us cocky. You’re going to wing it and not prepare. I try to avoid that attitude.”

What did (Ret.) General Cohen learn about leadership from his career?

8 Universal laws of leadership:

  1. Maintain absolute integrity.
  2. Know your stuff.
  3. Declare your expectations.
  4. Show uncommon commitment.
  5. Expect positive results.
  6. Take care of your people.
  7. Put Duty – mission or people – before self.
  8. Get out in front. Show initiative.

From: The Stuff of Heros

William Cohen has written over fifty books and currently is president of The California Institute of Advanced Management.

How can leaders overcome the dangers of being talented?