Leadership Letters
 Game designers write to their past selves
Hey Past Zack,

Part of what makes you valuable is your dedication. When you are faced with a problem, you chomp onto it and rarely rest until you've tackled it.

But that doggedness can backfire. People can either see it as crowding out their own ideas and contributions or as know-it-all-ism. I know you don't mean that. You were taught to stick up for what you believe in, so you take things personally when people don't see things your way, especially when you feel that way is obvious.

I don't know if I can tell you how to fix this or if you just have to suffer through it like I did. But I know you want to lead and make a difference. Right now you think that means dragging the team across the finish line. It may be that here and there, but leadership is being what the team needs when they need it. It's subjective, not objective. It has nothing to do with the team's success or failure. It has everything to do with creating more than the sum of the parts of the team members alone.

That's always been hard for you. You have all the stereotypical qualities of a gifted only child. While that means you are perfectly suited for standardized tests and other metrics of youth, the real world involves interpersonal intelligence that you have to practice to learn.

So keep working as hard as you do, but start teaching others. Lifting people up will make you a leader faster than having the right answer. No one likes a know-it-all, particularly because he rarely knows-it-all.

Future Zack

PS - Buy shares of Google, get Bitcoins as early as possible, and place a bet on UMBC beating Virginia.
Zack Hiwiller
Department Chair
December 9, 2019

Year Started: 2004