Goldfinches, learning, and leadership

At this time of year, there are literally dozens of goldfinches at our birdfeeder.Photo of a male goldfinch perched on a branch with a blurred green background

They’re wearing their winter plumage: faded, dusty taupe. The only reason I know for sure that they’re goldfinches? The black-and-white stripes on their wings.

Every year, I’m amazed at how – all of a sudden – the males are vivid bright yellow. Overnight.

Wait a minute. That’s not possible.

Kinda like “overnight success” isn’t possible. No one becomes a leader overnight. (With the possible exception of Volodymyr Zelensky, that is – and I think we can agree that this is an especially rare and unique example.)

In all seriousness, though, no one becomes a vividly-outstanding leader overnight, just as no goldfinch becomes vividly-yellow overnight.

This year, I’m carefully watching the goldfinches at the feeder. Not just appreciating their presence (and filling the feeder every day). Watching. Observing.

And what I see is … these birds are changing color gradually. Every day, starting up around their shoulders, they’re just a little bit more yellow, and a little bit less drab.

So, yeah, this is my point: change is gradual. Learning is gradual. Expertise is acquired gradually. Confidence accumulates gradually.

So please, don’t expect your recently-promoted managers, your fledgling leaders, to know what to do right after you’ve promoted them.

Give them some help.

That way, they can gradually, effectively, productively, and happily (!) grow into their leadership capacity and become the leaders you need.

Let’s create GOOD leaders instead of having to save BAD leaders!

Leadership development is not the same as leadership training. Training is only one piece of the puzzle. And leadership development does not need to be time-consuming and expensive to be effective. 

Let’s talk about how you can support your fledgling leaders and managers. Schedule here!