December 29, 2006
What Is The Best Predictor of Successful Leadership?
Bill John knows leadership. He is a Vietnam Vet credited with a Mig kill as a naval aviator and who later commanded a combat ship. I asked him how he identified future leaders.
Past success in sports.
Your Business Blogger is honored to advise senior leaders. I once had a conversation with Bill about mentoring managers.
Rules-bound games are the key. Leadership skills start early in sports, he said. Sports leaders pull their teams together to reach a common objective. They learn these skills at a young age… and are accurate predictors of leadership talent.
The Dude with the Wildcats a few seasons ago
Bill John’s analysis mirrors the philosophy from another military hero, General Douglas MacArthur, who was the West Point Superintendent for three-years in the early 1920s.
From AmericanHeritage on MacArthur. It is noted that some of,
…[H]is eloquence is on display over the main entrance to the gymnasium. Some blank verse that he penned as Supe memorializes the strenuous regimen of intramural athletics that he imposed on his alma mater:
Upon the fields of friendly strife
Are sown the seeds
That, upon other fields, on other days
Will bear the fruits of victory.
Thank you (foot)notes:
Management Training Tip: When evaluating new entry-level management trainees, ask about sports participation.
Full Disclosure: Bill John is a cousin.