When my oldest daughter Jessi was 3 and at kinder one day, our cat Stroodel was killed by a car outside our house. I was devastated – Stroodel was my good friend, always present; and he was gone. Then I worried about how to tell Jessi; what to tell Jessi.

I struggled to resist the temptation to bury him quickly before she got home – hide the evidence, gloss over the questions, move on quickly, keep life as comfortable as possible. I couldn’t do that; despite wanting to and knowing it was the ‘easier’ way. I braced myself for the tears, the challenging questions, the impotence I would feel not being able to ‘just fix him Mummy’.

I recognised this as being what parenting experts call a ‘teachable moment’, and was conscious that I needed to rise to the challenge of parenting. Protecting Jessi would not work in the long run, and the hard conversation was necessary for both of us to develop.

Leadership development is like that – a series of teachable moments that many leaders either don’t see or choose to ignore. This is sad because some of the best leadership development happens through real time, targeted feedback on the job from a leader who knows you and the organisational context.

To increase the impact of your leadership you might like to consider:

  • What ‘teachable moments’ have you pushed aside in the past week?
  • What might that have cost both you and those you lead?
  • What commitment are you willing to make about teachable moments this week?

Have an Extraordinary day


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