Leaders don't need to know more than every single person they are leading.
OK, so where did I come up with that brilliant revelation? And whys it such an important leadership lesson?
It started after reflecting on something Randy Paush said in his "Last Lecture". I finally got around to watching it last night with my 17 year old daughter. I know, I know, I'm probably one of the last people to watch it, and being in the leadership development business business, I should have watched it a long time ago. It was everything I've heard - inspirational, funny, touching, and loaded with leadership lessons. Just in case you're one of the few that haven't watched it, here's a link. It's a must for any leader or aspiring leader.
Anyway, back to the lesson. One of Randy's childhood dreams was to be Captain Kirk. He talked about what a great role model leader Captain Kirk was. He didn't know everything about everything. Scotty knew more than him about engineering, Spock about science, and Bones about medicine. In fact, you wondered what the hell was it that this guy brought to the table. Randy nailed it - it was leadership. He was able to lead that team to extraordinary results, harnessing all of that collective genius.
Then, this morning, while reading the Sunday newspaper, I came across today's Dilbert comic (another of my favorite sources for leadership wisdom). See my sidebar Dilbert widget for the full strip, but here's the text: