An unlikely role model for those who aspire to be an engaged supervisor in business

imagesIn The Explorer Gene, Tom Cheshire explains how three generations of the Piccard family went higher, deeper, and further than anyone else had ever done before. Auguste Piccard was the patriarch. At one point, he accepted a position at the Solway Institute. A photograph of a faculty meeting in 1927 shows Auguste standing with several of his colleagues: Max Planck, Marie Curie, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger…and Albert Einstein. All were or would become Nobel Prize recipients.

Cheshire notes that Piccard knew Einstein from his research, and had a great deal of personal affection for him.

“He described the German-born physicist as ‘the most remarkable man I have ever met. He takes a serious and profound interest =in the works of other people, listens attentively for hours, asks questions, and talks with great interest, never speaking of his own work, never even referring to it…Anyone who sees and hears him would never guess from his simple manner that he is a man or world renown. However, his appearance is compelling and reveals his genius. Have you noticed his neck and head? His figure expresses extraordinary individuality.

“Every time I meet Albert Einstein, I feel rich and happy, and I always wish I could be with him more.'”

As I read these comments, it occurred to me that anyone entrusted with supervisory responsibilities would want to be thought of by direct reports in much the same way that Piccard views Einstein. My guess is Robert Greenleaf would characterize Einstein as a servant leader, Bill George would describe him as authentic, Dan Goleman would say that he has highly-developed emotional intelligence, and Carol Dweck would say that he has a growth mindset.

Not too shabby….

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