Why the Whole Person Idea Fails

“In trying to please all, he had pleased none.” – Aesop

In the military we have a development goal of the “whole person”. To create military leaders well-rounded in technical skills, leadership, education, communication ability, and community involvement.

As children, we’d bring home report cards with a few As and a B (or C). Many parents would want to know what happened and why there was a B. We learned to focus and improve on what we did poorly.

Like Lincoln’s generals, who until Grant were well-rounded military leaders but couldn’t win a battle, we can spend entire careers being good at everything. Or, choose to be fantastic at one or two things and alright in other areas. And while Grant couldn’t remain sober and had an unremarkable presidency, he did win battles. And a war.

Becoming a better leader is one thing, but pleasing everyone, being the leader for everyone and every situation is a false hope and a way to waste your gifts (your strengths).

 

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