The Leadership Gap: Application
Fact: There are over 75,000 books on Amazon that are under the topic of leadership.
Fact: There are approx. 600 million links (via a Google search) containing leads to the topic of leadership.
Add to that the millions of articles, blogs, and hundreds of conferences every year around the world and the reality quickly is realized that there is no shortage of content about leadership. If you want to know about vision casting, its out there. If you want to know how to shape teams, you’ll find that too. If you want to become more inspiring, simply be inspired by how many tips and exercises you can find via all the content available to you.
And yet with all this information, why is it that the world is short of leaders as so many have stated? Why does there still seem to be a void? With all this information, what is the missing piece? The problem is not the content, the problem is the application.
It may be difficult to swallow, but by reading books about vision it does not make us vision casters. By hearing a lecture on innovation, does not make us innovators. And by searching online for team exercises does not make us team builders. Application is the game changer and it is a daily decision. So what the world needs is not more knowledgable leaders, but knowledgable leaders that courageously apply and implement the principles into their various contexts. In other words, the more that you know (knowledge) the more you grow; but the more you grow, the more you are expected to show (apply).
So if you find yourself struggling to become a more effective leader as a result of application, then try your best to embrace the following:
1. All Growth Requires Sacrifice: In the case of growing as a leader, the sacrifice a lot of times comes in the form of comfortability. To apply your knowledge it will require taking risks and trying new ways and methods. The greatest depth of learning comes from experience, so don’t be afraid to sacrifice your comfortability for the sake of application.
2. Application is a Daily Decision: Each day ask yourself the question “what can I apply today from the lessons learned yesterday?”.
3. The Lack of Action is Still and Action: Leaders move things forward. By not applying the knowledge you have gained, you are keeping your organization and teams stagnant or moving backwards. As a result, you become less mature, less effective, and will lose influence. But on the other hand, when you apply your leadership knowledge you provide your organization with the example, tools, and motivation to keep moving. If you want to accomplish anything significant, you must keep moving forward; the world needs you to. And my guess is that your organization and teams are longing for the leader you know you can be, the type of leader you’ve read about, the type of leader you’ve heard about, the type of leader only you can choose to be.