Learning to catch a ball and learning leadership
I was with my daughter earlier this year (who is very good at catching), watching some cricketers (who weren’t!), and I was reminded of an experiment by my old tutor at Oxford concerning the computations the brain has to undertake to enable a catcher to arrive at the right time and place to catch a moving ball. In essence, it’s this:
d2(tanα)/dt2= 0, where α is the angle of elevation of gaze from fielder to ball
You can read the whole paper here.
Of course, whilst the algorithm is certainly valid I doubt anyone anywhere would either attempt, or be able, to catch a ball by learning the formula.
I’ve recently been having conversations with Clients around developing leadership skills, and it occurred to me that the same was essentially true about Leadership. Although I’ve spent over 20 years as a professional psychologist in the field (no pun intended), just about everything I learned behaviourally about leadership I learned during my time in the Royal Navy, and none of it was ever formally taught. ‘Officer like behaviours’ were explained, modelled, encouraged and coached. By contrast, demonstrating un-officer like behaviour had immediate consequences!
That’s not to say that academic and theoretical approaches to leadership are wrong, merely that the analysis and conclusions are attempts to codify the practice, much like the formula for catching a ball, and equally like catching it’s unlikely anyone could learn the behaviours by learning the formula.
Having trained Professional Services Firms around the globe for more than a quarter of a century, we in PSfPS have identified three critical areas of leadership behaviour that successful Partners exhibit:
There is as yet no formula for these behaviours (at least that we are aware of), however if you’d like to know more about how we develop them for our Clients by explanation, modelling, encouraging and coaching, we’d be delighted to speak to you.
Alternatively, you can find out more about each module of our ‘Partner Behaviours’ programme by following the links below: