How is it we can run and catch a ball without making complex mathematical calculations?
Well, inbuilt for most of us is a process called the gaze heuristic.
The gaze heuristic is a heuristic employed by people when trying to catch a ball. Experimental studies have shown that people do not act as though they were solving a system of differential equations that describe the forces acting on the ball while it is in the air and then run to the place at which the ball is predicted to hit the ground. Instead they fixate the ball with their eyes and move so as to keep the angle of the gaze either constant or within a certain range. Moving in such a fashion assures that the ball will hit the catcher.
How is this relevant?
Several times people have mentioned or alluded to the basic premise leaders are born not bred. Certainly for much of my management career I have believed this.
Now I don’t.
Well not absolutely.
I think as a guide it stands, but I think it ignores two critical aspects:
Firstly even born leaders need to keep being bred – to learn new skills, to revisit things they knew before, and to keep learning what they didn’t know they needed to learn.
Secondly there are always leaders lurking who wouldn’t be classically picked as future leaders, and circumstance can mean they pull themselves through or someone or something else does.
I’ve harped on long enough in various guises about the first aspect. The second aspect though needs to be noted.
Leaders looking for, and at, leaders can’t afford to ignore those ‘not born as leaders’. They may go about things quietly or lead with dogged determination – not the sort that barks everyone day and trumpets their glory (they are pretenders) – I mean the ones who have a belief in themselves and a self knowledge that they have plenty to learn if they wish to lead effectively. There are endless variations.
I typically observe these unheralded leaders as being either fearless or, at times, verging on what appears to be reckless ignorance. They are full of surprises.
My aim with this post is to speak out for those leaders ‘not born as leaders’, and to draw out some of your thoughts and experiences on this topic.
These ‘not born leaders’ support one of my belief’s that you can grown anybody into a pretty damn good leader.
And because ‘we’ don’t, perhaps that is why the old wives tale of born not bred has perpetuated.
- ^ “ScienceDirect – Psychology of Sport and Exercise : Fast and frugal heuristics in sports”. http://www.sciencedirect.com.
- ^ “Gut Feelings” (The Intelligence of the Unconscious) By Gerd Gigerenzer. Viking, 2007.