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In the movie Troy, Odysseus played by Sean Bean tries to persuade Achilles (The gorgeous Brad!) to stay and fight for Agamemnon. He explains to Achilles that sometimes leading requires learning to serve first in order to lead in the future. However, Achilles is so disgusted by Agamemnon’s leadership behaviour that he is unable to take the advice and decides to sail home with his men, until of course his cousin (lover) Patroclus is killed by Hector. 

As a young manager I remember being read the same script many times, holding my nose and thinking “I suppose I must be patient and I still have much to learn”. 

Today, having again returned to my entrepreneurial roots I would tell that young manager to “run as fast as you can out of there”!

The disruptive, exponential world we live in today just can’t afford leaders with poor people skills, lacking self-awareness, afraid to grasp change and fundamentally misunderstanding that their role is to help create the environment for innovation and growth rather than insisting that they drive it.

My experience tells me that really poor leaders find it very difficult to become good leaders and being exposed to them for too long damages too much future talent.

Phil Akilade