Leadership Development: How to Mentor a Superstar

June 29, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Add Blagojevich to the list of people in powerful positions that thought they were above the law.

What I think is missing in leadership development is training in humility. This is a tough one because the developed world’s academic, athletic and business systems breed entitlement. No one wants to hold the superstars, the ones generating all the sales, big investment returns, and trophies accountable for bad behavior. The tendency is to look the other way and send the message that you are special– for you we make exceptions. The result: the behavior continues and we breed entitlement.

If you are a superstar and did not get trained to be humble and to be grateful for your natural talent then it’s probably too late.

If you are coaching, mentoring or parenting young superstars it’s not too late to put them in situations that stretch them and increase their gratitude for their giftedness. The result will be humility. They won’t see themselves eligible for special treatment (this is going to take a lot of training) and maybe, just maybe, they will surround themselves with people that will let them know when they are full of themselves–another stretch because superstars attract people that stand to benefit from the superstar’s success, an inherent conflict that has the blind leading the blind.

Most sports and academic settings do the opposite of what I am proposing so this training has to come from somewhere else. Service work, Children’s International Service Village (CISV), youth mentoring programs like Boyz to Men (Threshold Passages in Denver), and Outward Bound are a few examples of the diversified programs that help develop an internal morale compass and train leaders in relational skills. Any initiation process can help do the same thing.

What do you think breeds the Blagojevich’s of our culture?




Filed in: Leadership

About the Author (Author Profile)

Executive coach, top team facilitator, author and speaker. I work with individual leaders and their teams to help navigate personal and professional transitions and to increase leadership capacity and improve communication and relationship skills. I founded my coaching firm in 2001 following 12 years as a CEO. Check out more on me and my coaching process in my book "The Business of Wanting More: Why Some Executives Move from Success to Fulfillment and Others Don't"

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