Do you rely on the same methods of work over and over again? Have you been using the same tools for years without reflecting on why?
My dad was a weekend woodworker. He worked in a glass factory as a supervisor most of his life, but he was also a skilled craftsmen. He even built our house. He didn't know everything about every craft, but he found ways to learn. He mainly learned by helping.
When the contracted plumber installed the plumbing in the house he was building, he helped the plumber.
When the electrician installed all of the wiring and circuits and kept everything up to code, my dad helped. He followed orders. He did the heavy lifting. He listened attentively. And, he helped. Not so that he could install plumbing or electricity in future houses (he never did) but so that he could FIX whatever malfunction occurred later in his own home.
He saw which tools he'd need. He learned how to think thru a problem. He found the boundaries of his knowledge so that he'd know when to ask for help.
The tool box kept growing.
It's been that way for me as a leader. I've never had everything I need to be a perfect leader. I never will. But I've followed on at least as many projects as I have lead. And each time I did the grunt work, pulled the heavy lifting, watched, listened and learned. Not to be the greatest leader of all time, but to learn what tools I'd need, to learn how to think thru a problem, and to find my own boundaries so I'd know when to ask for help.
Every leader needs a tool box of techniques to enable fast thinking and reasoned responses. How's your toolbox coming along?
-- doug smith