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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Dragon Reborn - Chapter 48 [#111]

Leader Development: Nynaeve al'Meara

    Despite spending the ship ride from Jurene seasick, the three women arrive in Tear.  The odd fued between Nynaeve and Egwene is ongoing, mostly out of pride and ego at this point.  As they begin their search for Liandrin and the rest in earnest, Nynaeve recognizes the danger of being predictable and staying at an inn.

    "'Not an inn," Nynaeve said as firmly as she guided the stallion; she never seemed to let the animal get out of her control.  After a moment, she moderated her tone a little.  "Liandrin, at least, knows us, and we have to assume the others do, too.  They will surely be watching the inns for whoever followed the trail they sprinkled behind them.  I mean to spring their trap in their faces, but not with us inside.  We'll not stay at an inn."

Nynaeve, The Dragon Reborn, p. 472

    Nynaeve decides to play to her own strengths in finding a place for them to stay.  Crisscrossing the poorer sections of Tear, she finally finds the house of a local Wise Woman, Ailhuin; equivalent to Nynaeve's Wisdom status back in the Two Rivers.  Using her own seasickness as an icebreaker, she starts immediately to find common ground with Ailhuin.

    They settled down as if testing each other, tossing questions and answeres back and forth faster and faster.  Sometimes the questioning lagged a moment when one spoke of a plant the other knew only by another name, but they picked up speed again, arguing the merits of tinctures against teas, salves against poultices, and when one was better than another.  Slowly, all the quick questions begain shifting toward the herbs and roots one knew that the other did not, digging for knowledge.  Egwene began to grow irritable listening.

Nynaeve and Ailhuin, The Dragon Reborn, p. 476

    Nynaeve's effort in building a common foundation with Ailhuin pays off as the Wise Woman is content to share her home with the three women.  Taking the additional hour or two to connect with Ailhuin earns a big payoff.  By comparison, Egwene's impatience no doubt would have led to a much more direct confrontation without the same level of success.  It's difficult to dial back that drive to make substantial progress and make an honest effort to connect with the team, but it's critical to actually building and creating a team.  It was probably one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn.  I'm not particularly outgoing, so that was the biggest part - becoming more sociable, walking around asking questions, talking to folks about stuff other than work - all of it is still leadership.


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