The Physics of Leadership

physics of leadership

phys·ics (fĭz’ĭks) 2. The physical properties, interactions, processes, or laws of something: the physics of plasmas.

I like the way the universe is put together in a consistent way. For example, jump off a 1,000 foot cliff you’ll fall all the way to the bottom – every time. However, if you know the rules that govern the system, you can start to affect your outcomes. For instance, if you jump off a 1,000 foot cliff attached to an airfoil capable of producing enough lift to counter your own weight, all of a sudden you’ve gone from falling to flying!

There are similar “rules” that govern how people influence each other. For instance, if you dole out assignments to your staff based solely on your own needs and wants, then you’re leading your team off a cliff. At the bottom you’ll find mediocre performance, untapped potential, and people jumping ship – every time.

However, if you know the rules – and use them wisely – you can begin to influence outcomes. If you start trying to align your assignments to the individual needs and wants of your staff, you’ll see your team start to take off. Is this always easy? No. (Neither is crafting an airfoil!) Will you succeed every time? Certainly not. Will your staff notice and appreciate the effort on your part? Yes, they will.

How do you learn the physics of leadership? The same way real physicists do: deliberate observation followed by experimentation. Look around! What’s working? Why did it work that time but not this time? Try something new. Become a learning leader by looking for the fundamental fabric behind your positive leadership experiences.

What properties, interactions, processes, or laws of leadership have you seen in action?

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