1/20 – Ambition and Leading

January-February 2014 / Leadership Coaching Tips

Russ Volckmann

Russ Volckmann

Russ Volckmann

Assessments are used in many ways in individual development, whether through direct feedback from others, questionnaires, etc. Each individual, each assessment, is based on a set of values that shape criteria. When someone identifies a set of criteria or offers learning from experience, these can be a good place to start in gaining insight into our own situation.

The following (edited) material was posted by Michael Lamport Commons on January 11, 2014. While the advice is directed to those in science, many may apply directly to anyone who seeks to fill a leader role or to develop themselves with the potential for stepping into a leader role. Perhaps it could be used to form a template for what followers would look for in an individual who is a candidate for a leader role.

Coaching tip: Go through this list after you have considered the context in which you may be interested in leading. What are the critical contextual variables? Time? Place? Population? System? Economy? Personnel? Ecology? Conflict? Diversity? Alignments? Then, for each item on the list below ask,

  1. What is important about this?
  2. How is it relevant to the context?
  3. What are my strengths in relation to each item?
  4. What are my challenges?
  5. What are my developmental opportunities?

Once that review is completed, identify the most important three developmental opportunities related to your aspirations to lead or be prepared to lead. Develop an action plan for each, including after action reviews at various points in the process, identification and enlistment of a support team for guidance and feedback, and a time to review and revise priorities.

Scientific Ambition

  • Striving to develop models
  • Striving to have the model as general as possible
  • Think things out for yourself
  • Have a mission to understand and discover phenomena
  • Persistence
  • Willing to be wrong
  • Willing to not being popular
  • Willing to not get grants
  • Does not worry about what others think
  • Not bothered by risk
  • Willing to go forward
  • Does not accept the opinions of experts
  • Likes to speculate
  • Has a picture of what they imagine a phenomena to be
  • Has a picture of what they imagine a possible approach to finding out without having things worked out
  • Willing to lose out on top position
  • Withstand criticism
  • Willing to take chances
  • Not afraid of risk
  • Not afraid of failure
  • Not influenced by what is popular
  • Willing to have journals turn down papers
  • Resists having to achieve a consensus
  • Wants to understand
  • Wants to think things out for oneself and not for pleasing others
  • Go where the ideas go
  • Has a vision
  • Has a set of theories
  • Loves to work on one own’s own ideas
  • Loves trying to understand how things fit together
  • Ignores that people say this is too risky
  • Realizes that ideas may take decades to develop even after the initial Insight

And then? If you think of other items to add to the list, do so… Revisit this process periodically (put it on your calendar, involve others…).

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