I'm asked often if I really believe I can teach anyone to be a good leader. Each time, I'm reminded of a story that I've heard told often at this sales training I partake of from time to time.

It's a very short story; actually, more of a scenario. Ten people are brought into a room and asked to sign their names on a piece of paper with the best signature they can muster. Then those same ten people are asked to write their signature with the opposite hand the best they can. All of the signatures with the opposite hand are terrible, because none of these people have ever tried to write with their opposite hand before.

Then the guy at the front of the room offers a special challenge. Whoever can come back in 14 days and signed their name as perfect with their opposite hand as they did with their normal writing hand would be paid $250,000, but there would only be one winner. Would there be any doubt that every waking moment for the next 14 days would be spent trying to write with their opposite hand?

Of course, the purpose of the story is to try to find out just how determined people are, depending on the circumstances, to do whatever it is that needs to be done. Now, someone might say "hey, that's $250,000, but being a better leader or manager won't make me that kind of money". Of course it will. The best managers always end up making more money than the bad ones. Sure, some bad ones slip through the cracks, but in general, it's always those who treat their employees better, those who know how to work with others better, that will ultimately succeed. And it may be worth $250,000 or even more, whether it's all in the same year or a few years put together.

And it will ultimately be more satisfying long term.