Essays/Articles :: Introduction

These essays express my fascination with the learning/ performing/ creating process and the problems people have in achieving success with it.

I have focused on four domains because I have experience in all of them:

Leaders and Followers

I also find it helpful to conceive of leaders and followers as a unifying conceptual device for all four domains. Specifically, in education, the leader is the instructor/teacher and the followers are the students; in management, the leader is either a manager/supervisor or a mentor and the followers are subordinates or protégés; in counseling, the leader is a therapist and the followers are clients; and in the arts, the leader is a master artist/teacher and the students are the apprentices. In all these domains, the relationships can be viewed as one (leader) to many (followers), as well as on a one to one basis.

Innate Ability vs Learning

Conventional wisdom claims "you can’t teach that," in a variety of domains, ranging from the arts to business to sports to scholarship, referring to the difficulty of achieving mastery within them. According to this view, innate ability emerges as the key to individual follower success – whether the follower is a football player, a student, or a client in therapy. That does not offer any hope for the poor performers apart from simply trying harder.

I have taken issue with this position, based on my own past and on the literatures of several disciplines. I suggest that other contributors to poor performance exist, ones that allow for improvement on the part of both leaders and followers. I have isolated three broadly based contributors that can be applied to each of the four domains referenced above. I also have recommendations for how to treat these problems. All of this is in a metaessay, Leader/Follower Meta Matrix, that presents a more in depth sense of these concerns and summarized in a table.