All great leaders experience defining moments that shape their leadership style.
For Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that moment happened when she was a chief resident at UCSF School of Medicine, where she first learned to teach.
“There’s a saying in medicine: ‘See one, do one, teach one,'” she told Adam Bryant in a recent New York Times interview. “Living the ‘teach one’ part of it was the most important management lesson I learned. You have to be supportive enough so that someone feels capable, enabled and powerful, but you also have their back so that things don’t go wrong.“
She told Bryant she had to teach others to find what she calls the “sweet spot.”
“The stakes are so high in medicine,” she said. “There’s a sweet spot in peak performance where you’re bringing all your intellect, assets and capabilities to the task, and you’re not paralysed by the challenge. I think that’s what great management is all about — making sure people are right in that sweet spot, and not feeling incapable because they’re scared.”
Read the full New York Times interview here.
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