In Turning Pro, author Steven Pressfield explains the difference between amateurs and professionals, in any field. Pressfield likens amateurs to addicts – not just drug addicts, but addicts of all forms. In contrast, artists – real artists, are professionals. If you’re passionate about something – anything – and wonder why you’re not making more progress, read this book. I did and, then I read it again and again and again.

After about my third read, I jotted down my perspectives on the difference between the amateur leader and the professional leader. Here’s my take on the difference between an addict and a professional in leadership:

The Amateur Leader

  • Losers Down the Hole, Winners Take OffControls
  • Spins
  • Seeks titles and compensation
  • Desires praise
  • Holds a grudge
  • Seeks work/life balance
  • Worries about who is to blame, to avoid blame theirself
  • Takes the praise so they look good to others
  • Expects others to do the dirty work
  • Watches the clock
  • Worries about when their people arrive and leave
  • Seeks the approval of others
  • Asks, “What’s in it for me?”
  • Worries about perception

The Professional Leader

  • Serves
  • Delivers
  • Seeks impact and evolution
  • Desires results
  • Moves on
  • Seeks work/life alignment
  • Takes the blame, so the team can move on
  • Shares the praise, so the team is rewarded
  • Worries about what people accomplish
  • Does the dirty work and expects the same of others
  • Watches the deliverable
  • Seeks an inner-peace with themselves
  • Asks, “How will this help our team?”
  • Worries about reality

Many thanks to Chris Brogan for pointing me to Pressfield’s work and of course, to Mr. Pressfield for this great book.

Question: Have you turned Pro? If not, what are you doing about it? You can leave a comment here.