How Leaders Use Rules to be Good…and then Break Them to be Great

“If we do what comes naturally, we will not be great leaders.”

That’s a quote from an upcoming podcast guest, Hans Finzel (check out Episode 24 in about two months). No one is a naturally great leader. By default, we all have characteristics that prohibit us from being great leaders.

Shyness, self-centeredness, inability to handle conflict, reluctance to speak up, not listening to others’ ideas. The list could go on and on. No one is just born with all of the traits necessary to lead others. So how then do great leaders evolve? I think I learned that lesson a long time ago, but just realized it.

Learning to cook No great chef becomes great by following the rule book. The same is true for leaders. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

When I was five years old, I began to learn how to cook. Not peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mind you. I’m talking about chicken and dumplings, lamb chops, pork tenderloins with cherry horseradish glaze, you name it.

I was blessed to learn two very different styles of cooking. My mom’s mother cooked traditional southern cuisine (mmmm…cornbread) while my dad’s mother taught me the art of gourmet cooking.

By the rules

When I first started learning to cook, I had to follow the rules. That meant that I had to mix the cherry horseradish sauce exactly according to the book (the book being whatever my grandmothers told me). I still remember it today:

1 cup of cherries, crushed

1/4 cup of apple cider

2 teaspoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of horseradish

Cornstarch to thicken

The only area where I got to “experiment” or play it by ear was with the cornstarch. It always seemed to require a different amount based on the juiciness of the cherries.