The Wizard of Oz, leadership development and you

Posted by: Joyce Matthews   |   No Comments   |  Posted on: Sep 25, 2015

The Witch of the North was right; you have to learn it for yourself, especially when it comes to being a leader.

Remember the story of The Wizard of Oz?

After a tornado hits Kansas, Dorothy gets lost. She knows where she really wants to be so she asks for help. She is told she must find The Wizard of Oz. Only he can help her. Fellow ‘seekers’ join her quest. They overcome lots of obstacles until they finally find the ‘guru’ they think can give them the advice they so desperately want.

But it turns out the great Wizard of Oz, is just like them; longing for something else. He’s been pretending to be something he’s not, when really he just wants to be himself.

Eventually Dorothy and her friends find they already have everything they thought they lacked. They all end up where they want to be. Sound familiar?

Watching this film makes me think of the leadership development industry. Everyone is hungry for the secret. Thousands of books, articles, workshops and programmes are devoured every day in the hope of finding the elusive recipe for great leadership. But what if just like Dorothy and her friends, you already have all the ingredients.

Let’s just think about it. Think of any great leader, about who they are and what they do.

All leaders

  • are learners – they learn from their mistakes, they learn what works and what doesn’t. They use this learning to build knowledge and wisdom.
  • are unique – with rare strengths and skills – whomever you thought of would be a one off. There is no one identical.
  • make decisions – that’s how they become great leaders, they make decisions that matter, and take them on their road to success.
  • take action – they keep moving forwards, evolving, growing.
  • are achievers – they’re successful in their field – if they weren’t achievers you wouldn’t have heard of them.

Now think about you. Think about

  • everything you’ve learned since you were born – that’ a huge amount, isn’t it? You’re must be an expert learner too.
  • your strengths and skills – look at your LinkedIn testimonials, recommendations, and professional references. Think about what you can do that’s different from your friends or colleagues. You can do things they can’t do, right?
  • your achievements – no matter how small – from baking a cake, to gaining a Scout or Girl Guide badge, to gaining a degree. Once you start making your list you’ve got lots of different achievements, haven’t you?
  • how often you make decisions – list how many you make every day. Start with this one – you made the decision to read this didn’t you?
  • your desire to move forward – you’re pursuing personal growth by reading other people ‘s blogs and articles, aren’t you?

So here’s the point; just like Dorothy you have all the strengths you need to be a great leader. Sometimes you might not believe it and seek reassurance and support, but when it comes to it, I bet you manage to pull through.  And on the odd occasion when you stumble on one of those yellow bricks, you’ll learn and be ready for it next time, won’t you?

So what’s the relationship between The Wizard of Oz, leadership development and you? Maybe it’s just as The Witch of the North says to Dorothy, “You don’t need to be helped any longer, you’ve always had the power”.

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