As I have gone from atheist to believer in leadership theory, I have said and heard the many rationalization statements for ignoring leadership concepts. Some examples,
- It’s all fluff and fancy words.
- I’m more into practice not theory.
- It’s all good on paper.
- That’s just common sense.
- Books and seminars are just a waste of time.
Let’s face it, most people think leadership is another overused mantra. But I have to ask, what’s behind the resistance?
Here are some of my reasons
Lack of Example
What better way discredit leadership theory than to give examples of contradiction between words and action.
I’ve seen managers use the title of leader when talking about someone that can barely keep up with tasks, gives no guidance to the staff, and makes everything a fire drill. I remember thinking “if that’s an example of a leader, I’m better off doing my own thing”. Raise your hand if you have had a similar situation.
People do what people see. In the same manner, people use what they see to discredit what they hear.
No Personal Connection
If I can’t find a link between the concept and what I do, like to do, and want to do, I’m very likely to ignore it.
The Culture Gap
“Well…that’s never going to happen here!” is what came out of my mouth when I compared my work environment with the one described in books.
When the gap between today and the ideal is too big, it is easy to dismiss leadership concepts.
I’m not alone in these type of thinking. I hear variations of these statements daily. As a leaders, it is our duty to embody the leadership values we like to preach, make them meaningful to each team member, and to reduce the gap between theory and reality.
Leadership is personal. Will you take the challenge?