Successful leadership is characterized by the manner in which the leaders manage difficult times. Most leaders ranging from those in businesses to those working in the public setting have undergone and put up with traumatic situations. The ability to learn from every negative experience and soldering on to making great leaders is what makes the difference. Thomas and Bennis(2001) refer to these challenges of leadership as “the crucibles of Leadership.” A crucible is a transforming occurrence of a person from an old perspective to a new sense of individuality. For a leader to grow and develop out of the crucibles, they must possess distinctive characteristics. The essentials involve enduring the crucibles and soldering on without losing enthusiasm to becoming extra ordinary leaders or as Thomas and Bennis (2001) put it, “adaptive Capacity.” This is the most important feature of the four essentials of great leaders.
A famous crucible in is prejudice-a preconceived view which is neither based on actual experience nor any other reason. This crucible involves people assuming that the cultural perspective of something is true without practically experiencing the real situation. Liz Altman, while she worked for a Sony factory in Japan was challenged with cultural rift and chauvinism. Women were believed to hold low level positions as compared to the men. She went against all cultural odds to engage and challenge men without a separation from the fellow ladies. He observed men and this helped her tackle the gender rift and later triumph.
Prevailing over Darkness
Crucibles consist of incidences that face people such as sickness, disagreements or even violence. During such times one is expected to avoid making quick conclusions through fast judgments. Instead a great person should try and observe the situation and analyze it before making a decision. A person should keep the hope even in the dark time and remaining determined all the way. Rittenberg was sent to prison without any explanation being offered in China. He later realized he had been confused with someone else and hence he encouraged himself with poems and six years later his prosecutor released him with an apology. When in the dark one should avoid panic and rather take into analyzing the real situation before making conclusions.
Meeting great Expectations
Crucibles are not always from the negative side but they can be experienced from a positive perspective for instance an employee whose boss expects much from him. This can be traumatizing just like the negative experiences. Michael Klein became a millionaire in his teenage years considering his rich granddad was his mentor. The grandfather began offering advice on business management at a tender age of five years after Klein approached the mentor. For a leader to meet the great expectations, he should experience change and get a lesson from it before adopting the change. This will make and extraordinary leader.
The Essentials of Leadership
For a person to rise through crucible experiences to an extraordinary leader he must depict leadership essentials that that are fundamental for all leaders. Firstly, a leader should be capable of involving others into understanding something he wants them to work out. Secondly, a leader should depict distinguishing as well as compelling voice that enable others listen to him and get into doing what he says. Thirdly, a leader’s integrity should not be questionable and hold very strong values set by him. The fourth and most important of all the essentials is the “adaptive capacity’ (Thomas and Bennis, 2001). It entails enduring the crucibles and soldering on without losing enthusiasm to becoming extra ordinary leaders.
Great leaders experience crucibles such as prejudice, darkness and great expectations, beyond which they get through by depicting extra ordinary essentials of leaderships. The essentials of include the capability to involve others, distinguishing and compelling voice, good integrity and adaptive capacity. Interviews from leaders show their exposure to crucible experiences and how successfully they depicted the essentials of leadership to triumph.
Thomas, R. J. (2001). Crucibles of leadership: How to learn from experience to become a great leader. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.