Think Leadership – Tip #3 – Put The Book Down!

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What’s the point of reading all those books if I am never going to apply it? This is the most common excuse I hear for not reading about leadership.  I was one of them and, to some extent, I have to agree with the statement.

These days the world is filled with managers quoting words like synergy, accountability, vision, mission, purpose, culture, etc.  But they all fall short in practicing what they preach.  Leadership, like everything else in life, is not learned through books; it’s practiced.  Michael Jordan, Baby Ruth, Tiger Woods, Warren Buffet, and John Maxwell did not become great at their craft by reading, listening, or viewing only.  They all had to try out their ideas.

During my baseball playing days, I read a lot about hitting.  While I knew a lot of theory on how to swing a bat, it took me countless hours of practice to truly understand how it all worked.  Similarly, I can tell you all about how leadership is influence but I won’t expect you to fully grasp the concept until you have experienced it.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Go back to you values.  The concepts that will resonate with you will probably be related to what you value the most.  Take advantage of it, it will be easier to start.
  • Try at least 10 times.  In the beginning, it might take some time to recognize the benefits of the concepts.  You must give life some time to catch up.
  • Be intentional.  I can’t stress enough how much time I wasted hoping for my brain to react with leadership thoughts automatically.  It must become second nature, and that requires discipline and intentionality.
  • If it doesn’t work for you, find something else.  After giving it an honest try and not seeing results, it is possible your personality doesn’t blend well with the concept.  While leadership concepts are universal, true leadership also needs the person to be genuine and comfortable with them.
  • Ask for feedback.  Keeping score leads to improvement.  Brief conversations with your staff and peers may help you see the impact of you actions faster.

Chances are is that you’ll forget what you read unless you have a specific examples.  Thus, as the logo states “even if you suck at it, Just Do It.”

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