There Are No “Almost Great” Leaders by Justin Locke


I don’t favor “all-or-nothing” thinking.  But v this article got me thinking. Hopefully,  it will stimulate some challenging thoughts for you, too. 

Once upon a time, I had the extraordinary privilege of playing for some of the greatest conductors in history.

But before you tsk-tsk me for self-aggrandizement, let me also say that I once had the not-so-extraordinary experience of playing . . . for some of the worst conductors in history too.

Many were just dull or mildly annoying, but there were also quite a few that were, well, what can I say . . . they were a genuine check-the-clock-every-45-seconds-wondering-if-life-is-really-worth-living-and-should-I-quit-the-bass-and-take-up-animal-husbandry experience.

But here is the odd thing: there was no middle. I never once encountered an “almost great” conductor. They were either magical, making everything flow with virtually no effort, or they were misery.

When I stepped out of my cultural silo to share this phenomenon with the broader world of people who earn money for a living, I discovered that it was not at all unique to the music business. I had merely seen one iteration of an emotional fractal. People in many different walks of life have told me similar stories. There are no “almost great” leaders or managers anywhere; they either got it or they ain’t. It’s positive or negative, with no gray shades. Their polarity is simply magnified by their power, for good or for ill.

Read the rest here:

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