This infamous cartoon comes to mind when I hear people casually dismiss as “easy” what I know to require hard work, difficult learning, and diligent practice:
There’s the start, and then the finish. Voila! Instant masterpiece drawing.
One of the reasons Star Wars fans were turned off by The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi movies was the violation of the central premise that becoming a Jedi Master with advanced skills required years of study and practice. In the original movies Luke had to work hard to use the Force to wield a lightsaber and lift even a pebble. After training intensely with Yoda for a time he’s told that he’s still not ready to face Darth Vader. In The Force Awakens we see Rey, a young woman without any training or prior experience, fly the Millenium Falcon in an elaborate dogfight with Tie fighters, wield a lightsaber successfully against an opponent who had trained all his life, manipulate guards into doing things against their orders, and lift a whole field of boulders. Zippity-do-da, hocus pocus, instant Jedi Master.
A genuine apprenticeship is composed of (1) instruction, (2) practice with feedback, and (3) association with others practicing the craft. You need instruction because you don’t know something yet. You need practice because skills aren’t perfected by a single repetition. You need association with others because there are aspects of a craft which are more caught than taught.
None of this is instant, even if The Force were to exist in our universe. It’s demonstrably true that you will improve more rapidly with focused practice on specific skills. But no mastery comes without instruction, practice, and association with others also practicing the craft.
There are two reasons I believe leaders need to pay attention here.
First, every worthwhile endeavor requires significant craft expertise, which is only obtained through disciplined effort over time. Leadership – including your leadership – is a long apprenticeship in the same direction. Perseverance is both required. You are likely to hear little voices in your collection of head-trash which suggest you should quit, or if you were really a leader, this would be easier. Ignore them, or better yet, laugh at them.
Second, mastery is honorable because it is the culmination of sustained effort. Each person you work with has some level of mastery, so honor it. Your organization requires many crafts coming together. Commend skill and craftsmanship of others. You’ll find that your organization will get more of what leaders commend and recognize.
Keep working on your leadership craft!