Now, the seemingly obvious response is “no,” right? After all, how can one teach someone to do something that one has not themselves done?
Well, actually, it happens quite frequently.
In sports, the champion coaches were not necessarily the champion athletes. (Famed boxing trainer Angelo Dundee was himself only an average fighter but trained – among others – Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. He was considered by many to be the top trainer in the sport for 50 years.)
In education, the best teachers were not necessarily the most gifted students.
In sales, the top sales managers were not necessarily the highest-producing salespeople.
How can this be? Because often, those most gifted are so naturally great and talented they simply do not have the empathy and/or patience to effectively work with and develop the greater percentage of those who are not already at an extremely high level. Not to mention (though, I guess that’s exactly what I’m doing) 🙂 the “naturally gifted” often don’t even know what they are doing that makes them so great.
Meanwhile, those who had to work harder to accomplish even much less than the natural stars are often much more in tune with what works, can transfer that knowledge to others, are able to help those at all levels build upon their strengths and thus are very successful as coaches and teachers.
However, does that same concept hold with leaders, whether the leader of a huge corporation, network marketing organization, etc.? Or, are we talking “apples and oranges?”
In other words, is business leadership an entirely different game? In order to develop leaders in this context, must the person had to have first been a successful leader himself or herself?
I’d love to know what you think.