Toddlers become Leaders

A PlantSim toddler.

Image via Wikipedia

There is a growing trend to use toddlers as a model for positive (and negative) leadership traits.  This is not lost on FT’s Lucy Kellaway who in the FT Business Life On Work column on 13 September 2010 describes Nicholas Brann’s theory of leadership:

● Toddlers are full of energy and enthusiasm. You can’t beat a toddler who is really into something and going for it 100 per cent.

● Toddlers are natural risk-takers. They throw themselves into climbing down the banisters in the boldest, bravest fashion.

● Toddlers are persistent. When told not to smear jam on a DVD, they will wait a couple of minutes and then do it again.

● Toddlers are inquisitive. They will not be fobbed off with a stock reply but go on asking “why? why? why?”

● Toddlers are creative. Their felt-tip drawings on walls and sofas betray the liveliest imagination.

● Toddlers have great interpersonal skills. They are good at thawing the hardest heart with hugs and sloppy kisses.

Leadership from below takes some getting used to.  Toddler leaders can be exhausting, demanding, and unreasonable. But they are effective. The interesting thing to start paying more attention to, is what happens in a group of toddlers. Think a toddler birthday party. There will be plenty material for new theories, books, and challenges to the initial theorem.

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About Trond Arne Undheim, Ph.D.
Trond Arne Undheim is a Research scholar in Global Systemic Risk, Innovation, and Policy at Stanford University, the Lead Ecosystem Evangelist at MIT-startup Tulip, Venture Partner at Antler, the global early-stage venture capital firm that invests in the defining technology companies of tomorrow. He is the CEO and co-founder of Yegii, an insight network with experts and knowledge assets on disruption. He is a nonresident Fellow at the Atlantic Council with a portfolio in artificial intelligence, future of work, data ethics, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurshipHe holds a PhD on the future of work and artificial intelligence.

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