[April 2, 2019] I was working out at the local gym when a new and very young trainer came up to me. She said to improve my physique and stamina, a harder workout was necessary. If you are around people trying to get and stay healthy, I’m sure you’ve heard her advice at some point; no pain, no gain.
If you’re over the age of 30, the idea that nothing is gained without some pain is not a good idea at the gym. Such an idea also holds for those who wish to make improvements in their leadership. A wise leader is one who learns most from the mistakes (the pain) of others and minimizes unforced errors.
“1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” – the Bible, Psalm 1
Learning to be a good leader has its pitfalls. One of them is to “graduate from the school of hard knocks.” I had a politician tell that to me one time as he explained his qualifications to be a town council member. I wasn’t impressed, and neither were the voters who defeated him in that election.
It’s simply bad advice to tell leaders that to do well; they must experience “pain” to get some payoff or “gain.” I have found it overly simplistic advice; often misinterpreted and misapplied. The old idea that hard work, discipline, honesty, etc. work to make us better should not be forgotten in the latest fads to quick improvements.
There are no shortcuts to leadership. Building trust and confidence in others takes time and effort. It is the key to success in leading others; whether that is in a military unit, family, campout, and the like. If you put in the work (while learning from others), take calculated risks, then your chances of being a good leader are much improved.
Giving leader advice is not hard. What is hard is doing the job. We don’t need to experience pain to get better.
This short series on ‘bad advice’ is a way to ensure junior leaders don’t go off in a direction that takes them down a path to frustration. It is much easier to ride the train and learn from others than to walk the dusty path of their own painful mistakes. Below are three other articles I wrote on bad advice.1,2,3
- ‘Forget about it…’more Bad Advice
- ‘I want it done Yesterday…’ more Bad Advice
- ‘Take Care of It…’ is Bad Advice