I was happily enjoying Year 2 of the MBA when I hit a problem – a big, loud, ignorant, self-centred problem with excellent verbal skills and zero people skills. What have I learned? Plenty about both myself and others. Firstly, stress, anger and a lack of trust hurts relationships. Secondly, the world may favour the ones who can express themselves verbally but winning the argument is not the same as leadership. In fact, outward compliance has very little to do with the heart at all – and once you’ve lost somebody’s heart it’s almost impossible to restore a relationship. Unpractised as I am to handling such problems, one thing is clear – it’s at times like this that one’s clear values shine out. What are you truly made of? What counts? What’s important? For me, anger can only be overcome by love – but the decision to love is not always an easy one. In fact that decision can be very hard indeed.
So now, bruised by the experience and with my joy drained, the question remains of how to get through the rest of the MBA. Having spent 18 months so far stretching myself, working with others and attempting to get along with them – I have learned along the way that being me is just fine and if other people don’t like me, that’s not something I can change.
So to all the people out there who think that being
is leadership, let me just say that such characteristics are no guarantee of success whatsoever. And let me add that some of the quieter people around you have great ideas. You may just be able to avoid leading people off your loud, ignorant, confident, expressive cliff if you spent just a small amount of time listening to those who aren’t shouting. And if you did so, you may just find yourself walking along the sea path enjoying the view with others rather than injured alone at the bottom because the others saw the danger and stopped when you carried on because they weren’t loud enough to break through your defences.