Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bruce Lee's Leadership Lessons

In honor of what would have been Bruce Lee’s 70th birthday last Saturday (11/27), I wanted to write an article about his leadership lessons. I googled "leadership lessons of Bruce Lee" and found this extremely comprehensive article about Bruce’s overall life lessons. It’s already been done, I thought, and really well too.

But the urge to honor the leadership legacy of Bruce Lee, who is best known for his martial arts skill as shown in such movies as Enter the Dragon, persisted. Bruce was incredibly strong and fast, and invented his own version of martial arts called Jeet Kune Do. Although I am extremely violence-averse, I am awed by what he was capable of and what he accomplished in his 32 years.

I have taken the liberty of condensing Bruce Lee’s leadership wisdom into just five lessons. Lee's quotations are in italics.

1. Set big goals and act on them.
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.

2. Success takes intense focus, dedication and hard work.
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Endurance is lost rapidly if one ceases to work at their maximum.

3. Remain flexible and adaptable to situations.
Flow in the living moment. — We are always in a process of becoming and nothing is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you’ll be flexible to change with the ever changing. Open yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the total openness of the living moment. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.

4. Adhere to high personal standards.
Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.

5. Mentor others.
I am not teaching you anything. I just help you to explore yourself.

This last quotation is an excellent credo for every manager and coach.

Bruce chooses hard work over partying at the University of Washington.


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