Can leaders improve?

Question: Are leaders born or made?

Goldsmith:  Great question. Are leaders born or are leaders made?  The answer is you have to have certain innate qualities to be qualified to be a leader. Once you are a leader, you can’t- the real deep question to me is can leaders get better?  The answer is definitely yes. Everybody I work with is already a leader. Whether they should or should not be a leader you can debate but they’re a leader anyway. They are leaders. Well, the question is can they get better?  If you look at our research with 86,000 people, the results are obvious. Leaders can make huge positive change in behavior. They can make huge positive change in effectiveness. Leaders can get better. Should everybody be in a management or leadership role?  No. Some people have no interest in it. I have no interest in being in a management role. I have a company named after me. I neither own it nor manage it. I have a college named after me. I neither own it nor manage that. If you want to name your children after me, it’s okay as long as I neither own nor manage your children. Well, I just enjoy coaching, I enjoy teaching and I enjoy writing. That’s all I do. It doesn’t make a good person or a bad person. Some people like management. You know what they should do?  Manage. Once you’re in leadership though, the question is can you be a better leader?  Definitely yes.  That’s what I do for a living and that goes back to what I talked about earlier. I help them figure out what they want to be, find out how they’re doing, get feedback, develop a rigorous and disciplined process for follow-up, and I actually measure do they get better. We have a very simple process called the mini survey process. We measure, do people get better at the right behaviors as judged by the right people and are they seen as becoming more effective overall as leaders?  That’s what I do for a living.

Marshall Goldsmith provides insight into whether leaders can improve

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less