People who are the best at what they do can teach us much about how to improve our performance. They are Apex Leaders who give us insights in what it takes to achieve our maximum potential. Apex Leaders also give us something very beautiful.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was recently profiled in the January 17th edition of Sports Illustrated. Along with the Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed, Polamalu is the greatest safety in the history of the NFL.
In addition to his hair, Polamalu is widely recognized for his relentlessness, passion, and creativity. He is truly an artist at his craft. The following are 15 lessons we learn about leadership and creativity from this future Hall of Famer.
- Managers are primarily technicians. Leaders are artists.
- Managers enjoy control. Leaders enjoy creation.
- Artists still execute but they also have a need to entertain.
- Artists utilize their craft as a platform for self-expression.
- For artists, each day is a painting that they put their signature on. When is the last time you looked at a day from that perspective?
- Artists thrive in environments of freedom. Are you creating open space for those on your team to operate in?
- Artists are driven by passion. I define passion as owning the result.
- Artists generally lack fear, specifically in the area of mistakes.
- Freedom has a price. There are many things artists sacrifice when coloring outside the lines.
- The creation process is better when artists are surrounded by a great team.
- Artists often still have great responsibility.
- Creativity takes place when responsibility is not threatened.
- While being very creative, the best artists have a common link of in-depth study of their craft.
- Instincts and preparation are inseparable during the creative process.
- Having freedom means you have more freedom to make mistakes. You need a team to cover them up.
Author Tim Layden says “The beauty lies in the chances taken and the moments made.” Leaders, when is the last time you made something beautiful?
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