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Some people mature while others just have birthdays.

Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on

This is a quote coined by my nonagenarian mother. I have always regarded it as speaking to the degree of one’s leadership effectiveness. So how do mature leaders (people) differ from those one might otherwise regard as immature? I think we can best see those differentiators during periods of stress or crisis. An anonymous phrase comes to mind regarding how someone mature is likely to behave in the thick of dissention – i.e., “like a clock ticking away in the midst of a thunderstorm”. This conveys remaining calm while methodically moving forward with no alarms unnecessarily going off, and so forth. When two people are behaving maturely in the face of dissention, there is no escalation of the crisis.  Better yet, when two people are calmly focusing on the facts without regard to who is right or wrong but rather simply focusing on what is working or not working, resolution is much more likely to emerge and in a timely manner. All it takes is for one person to get hooked by the other’s melodrama, and suddenly you now have two people spiraling downward creating additional problems and possibly irreparable damage. Maturity is not an easy construct for researchers to measure, but it is so important for leaders who are committed to be their best.