Photo: Harvard Business Review
Today’s advice comes from Frank Barrett, author of “Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz,” via the Harvard Business Review:“Some of the great leaders in the history of jazz have developed provocative competence, that is the capacity to challenge themselves and others to disrupt routines and demand that they pay attention in new ways.”
Barrett explains that good leaders need to put their colleagues in completely unfamiliar situations without asking their permission. He uses the example of Miles Davis who produced the best-selling jazz album of all time Kind of Blue when he forced his quintet to play in a completely new structure that was never before attempted.
Barrett says that Davis did not ask for consensus from his musicians to try something different and by creating an unfamiliar environment where they had to think on their feet, creativity flourished. He calls this “provocative competence” and says that by practicing it as a leader in any sector, you can see your peers’ potential in a much clearer light which creates improvement across the board.
“Leaders in all sectors can take this lesson: What does it take to develop this provocative competence, where you can see people around you and see their potential better than they see themselves, that you can disrupt their routines and demand that they think in new ways.”
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