“What! Any 5th grader knows that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Mike are you brain dead.”
Here is a list of names and want you to see if you recognize any of them.
I’m going to guess that probably you don’t have a clue who any of these guys are. I didn’t either until I found out that these gentlemen invented the light bulb. OK, I can hear you muttering to yourself,
OK, while it is true that Edison’s name has been attached to the creation of the light bulb, the other men were members of Edison’s lab team who were an integral part of the experiments that led to a successful working bulb.
On October 22, 1879 the first successful bulb burned for over 13 hours. The idea was Edison’s, Charles Batchelor produced the working drawings, Upton proved the concept mathematically, Boehm and Kruesi built it, then Jehl, Lawson and Force tested it; many times. The credit went to Edison but the important point to be made here is that we have the light bulb today because Edison understood that nothing important is created alone. To accomplish great things as a leader you must have an inspired, intelligent, collaborative team who have abandoned their individual egos and contribute unselfishly to the mission and vision of the organization and more specifically to the task the team has been assigned.
Edison was a secure leader and was not afraid to surround himself with men of intelligence who had a passion for learning and a commitment to excellence. He understood what Dr. John Maxwell explains in The Law of the Inner Circle; a leaders potential, and ultimately his success, is determined by those closest to him.
It always amazes me when I find leaders who think that they have all the answers. They believe that their title has somehow instantly transformed them into the smartest person on earth. They usually are insecure and are not willing to surround themselves with team members who complement them with strengths in the areas the leader is weak in.
If my success as a leader is determined by those who are on my team, in my department, the officers in my organization, and I can select them or influence how they are selected, then doesn’t it make sense for me to have an inner circle that will ensure my success? Why would I purposefully surround myself with average people?