Welcome to another edition of #3NoMoreThan5in5 from the very wild. This is my Recipes of Leadership series and todays episode I’m going to call it the Socratic Method. 

I didn’t really know what the Socratic Method was all about until I got to college. I got a rude awakening when I happened to take a constitutional law class and learned that my professor was Dr. Hobbs. Everyone said, “If you get Professor Hobbs for constitutional law, it’s going to be torturous quarter. Be prepared. Those are the only two words of advice we can give you, be prepared.” But “be prepared” for what? Well apparently Dr. Hobbs is a huge fan of the Socratic Method. He expected every student to do the reading, to understand the case law, to be able to site the case and the points involved, as he was known for calling on people in class. It didn’t matter how big or small the class was. It could be 3 to 500 students, he had a roster, he just picked somebody out, asked questions about the assigned reading and promote conversation around your knowledge of the various case law. 

Scared the heck out of me! That was the most frightening class I’ve had at UCLA, but it was also a class that taught me something: Dr. Hobbs, even though he’d probably never be able to pick me out of a lineup, he taught me accountability. He taught me the importance of doing the work, and if I didn’t do the work, all that anxiety, tension and stress that came upon me was no ones fault but mine. He taught me that it was important to understand and be prepared for what was coming ahead. 

If there’s one component of my recipe of leadership that Dr. Hobbs gave to me was that sense of accountability. This was something I did use quite a bit in my career development. I come up with little ways to send emails and follow ups to my team to check in on progress for the work, and while some didn’t like it, what it did do was help my team elevate its performance, grow to recognition and become a really effective team. Accountability is hard. You gotta do the work. You gotta be prepared to follow up. You gotta make sure you execute and do it in the timeline that’s given to you.

Dr. Hobbs probably had no idea that me sitting in his class would take that lesson of accountability and apply it directly into the way that I led as I grew in my career. I thank him. His class was the hardest B- of my academic career, but I’m really proud of that B- because I know I worked hard for it. He taught me to be accountable to that hard work, to learn and to grow. 

I share that with you as one in my series for Recipes of Leadership. Thank you Professor Hobbs, wherever you might be, whatever you might be doing. Stay tuned for another round of Recipes of Leadership the series. Whether it’s in written form or vlog, thanks for joining the conversation. Until next time, cheers!

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