New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Mitchell G. Rothstein and Ronald J. Burke
Dawn E. Chandler and Kathy E. Kram INTRODUCTION You learn more quickly under the guidance of experienced teachers. You waste a lot of time going down blind alleys if you have no one to lead you. (W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge, 1944) John Lee and Joe Anderson mutually left Joe’s yearly performance review discussion frustrated. Joe had been hired by XYZ Corporation two years prior. At the time, he had been identified as a high-potential candidate who John envisioned taking on a key leadership role in the fourth year of his employment. Unfortunately, John mused, Joe had not yet developed the competencies that were critical to success in the role for which he was targeted. While John needed to have an in-depth conversation with Joe about Joe’s efforts to develop his leadership capability over the past two years, his intuition hinted at the key reason for Joe’s slow progress. One of Joe’s comments in particular suggested the reason: when John asked why Joe didn’t try to seek him out with any degree of frequency for advice, Joe stated, ‘I’ve always prided myself on my self-sufficiency and I felt that I would be signaling incompetence if I asked for your help with anything’. By comparison, Joe’s counterpart, Ben Levine, who had seemed to have less natural leadership capability when he was hired in the same role as Joe two years prior, had impressed John and other senior leaders alike; he would be going up for promotion within the next six...
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