An Eagle, flying down from his perch on a lofty rock, seized upon a lamb and carried him aloft in his talons. A Jackdaw, who witnessed the capture of the lamb, was stirred with envy and determined to emulate the strength and flight of the Eagle. He flew around with a great whir of his wings and settled upon a large ram, with the intention of carrying him off, but his claws became entangled in the ram’s fleece and he was not able to release himself, although he fluttered with his feathers as much as he could. The shepherd, seeing what had happened, ran up and caught him. He at once clipped the Jackdaw’s wings, and taking him home at night, gave him to his children. On their saying, “Father, what kind of bird is it?’ he replied, “To my certain knowledge he is a Daw; but he would like you to think an Eagle.”

The leadership lesson here: You must know your own strengths and limitations

And that’s not easy. We all like to think ourselves capable of miracles and deserving of increased responsibility until the point where we go one step beyond our capabilities.

Try this at work:

Your exercise this week is to actually take stock of your strengths and limitations. Write down a list of your 10 greatest strengths and your 10 most glaring weaknesses. When you have done this, talk to your boss or your mentor and get these confirmed. Look as well how these help or hinder in your current job and what the impact would be if you actually had your boss’ job.

When you have a chance, write a comment to tell me about what you observed.