, Mind Hack
Everyone at Harvard is pretty much trained to be a leader. They arrive having been the president of the debate club, CEO of a small company and captain of the fencing team.
One of the major transitions is learning how to work as a team amongst a group of type A people. It’s easy to lead when people are used to following, less so when other people are used to leading.
There are a few strategies you can take to help lead a team of leaders without appearing to be THAT obnoxiously bossy person.
Today’s intern training session touched on my company’s philosophy that it is “impossible to turn a weaknesses into a strength.” It seemed counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t every company want to turn each employee’s weaknesses into strengths?
But, then, in that rare flash of insight I am rarely prone to, realized it was about ROI — Return on Investment.
Rather than having employees spend excessive amounts of time trying to turn a fear of public speaking into a Broadway actor’s stage presence, companies would rather have them reach an acceptable level of public speaking competency. The return on investment for reaching perfection for a weakness just isn’t worth it.
I would argue that the most successful (and happiest) Harvard students are those who leverage those strengths.
It is a v. well-known fact that Harvard students tend to over-commit themselves to difficult classes, time consuming problem sets, sports teams, term-time jobs and leadership and axillary positions in approximately 13 extracurriculars.
While the effects of over-committing are well-documented (anxiety, stress, lack of sleep), the external effects of over-committing are often glossed over. In fact, we live in a culture that praises the nearly over-committed. We want people to work hard and long hours to achieve what they want (money, fame, success), but we don’t want them to necessarily crash and burn.
However, a population of the (nearly) over-committed isn’t quite optimal either.