I have said before that leadership is the stewardship of the talents of others, and I truly believe it. As I enter another season of working with Interop and the incredibly brilliant people who populate the core of engineering staff to make the show network and labs work, I realize that leading highly talented people presents a series of challenges that are even more great than leading more typical groups.
Many folks think that leading talented people must be easier than leading more typical groups, but I can tell you that such a thought is far from the truth. With highly talented people, challenges of conflict, interpersonal dynamics, and decision making all become far more difficult. For example, how do you decide between five really good options for a decision instead of only between a couple? How do you mediate between equally strong and brilliant people and their conflicting ideas?
It's a difficult path to find, but one that the fortunate leader must if she is to bring out the best possible results. The more talent that you steward, the more challenge there is in leadership. But, ultimately, the more joy there is in the outstanding results that you can be part of accomplishing.