I used to believe that knowing was much more important than learning, especially for a leader.
Learning by Studying
I saw leaders as people who had the right answers and shared them with other people. If I wanted to be a leader, I needed to find the answers so I would not be found wanting. I set out to learn as much as I could.
I studied leadership and leaders. I read about people who were leaders. I earned degrees in political science, law, and public policy and administration. I gained a lot of information about leadership. Some of what I read inspired me to wish I were more of a leader, but I did not learn to be a leader by reading about it.
Learning by Trying
I thought that I knew enough about leadership to be a leader. I set out to apply the answers that I had learned.
I tried to put ideas into practice, I tried to share the right answers with people. I found that even thought I knew about leadership, I did not understand it.
Not everyone always appreciated my answers. Sometimes it was a challenge to apply my answers in exactly the right way to make things work. Some people even thought that some of my answers might not always be exactly right.
I learned a lot about leadership by trying to become a leader, and by making mistakes.
Learning by Practice
Slowly but surely, I came to appreciate that leadership is not a set of answers. It is not an idea that can be grasped theoretically.
Leadership is a skill that must be practiced to be mastered.
I do not always enjoy practicing, but it is the only way to recognize and appreciate authentic leadership.
How are you learning to appreciate the leader you can become?
How will you practice your leadership today?
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