Everyone has read a book with “Leadership” somewhere in the title. Why, we all want to become leaders that inspire and sought after for our sage advice. So, we go to the local book store and find a book that explains how Company A transformed itself from an average company to an extraordinary icon in its industry. Once you begin to read the plethora of books you realize two critical ideas. First, most books are more about management then leadership. Second, the ideas may be great for that specific organization but will not work for yours. However, there are two easy solutions for wading through the sea of books and learning how to truly transform you into a highly effective leader. To begin, you must understand the true nature of leadership and then look for Evidence Based Leadership training that provides a high-octane boost and will accelerate your leadership potential well past the next level.
First, understand that leadership and management are systematically opposed. People like to disguise management training as leadership training since it is cool to be a leader and a drag to be a manager. The overall concept is as simple as leaders lead and managers manage. True understanding of leadership requires a deeper understanding than that simple statement. Leadership is about transformation through the creation of a greater vision for the future and in-depth understanding of people to guide and motivate people. Leaders possess the ability to create the end goal vision for their organizations. They readily read the tea leaves and anticipate where the road blocks are, and how to navigate around them. They understand how to overcome organizational inertia that resists change and can prevent average leaders from creating an impact. Effective leaders have the capability to transform their organizations and take them to the next level. Extraordinary leaders transcend these bounds and create legendary organizations.
Management is about putting parameters on organizations. They develop and follow rules and regulations and keep score. They are the traffic cops that keep the organization moving along at a specified pace. Managers put the brakes on organizational change until ideas are clearly vetted. I am not saying managers are bad people. Managers are the yin to the leadership yang. They develop the strategies that keep organizations going day-to-day. Without managers a high-octane leadership driven organization will wander from one vision to the next, but it will make great time. Management trims the sails and ensures check points are developed and targets are met. Another analogy says leaders want to expand the balloon. Managers want to have rules limiting how fast it expands and requires constant pressure testing to ensure the balloon does not pop.
Now, are people born with innate leadership capacity? Have you ever read in the newspaper, “A great leader was born today at General Hospital” or hear in the hospital hallway, “That baby has great management potential.” Some people do seem to inherit innate leadership skills, but they are still limited. Some possess exceptional leadership skills that work in one industry, but they may flop in another. There is light at the end of the tunnel for struggling leaders: Evidence Based Leadership.
Evidence Based Leadership is a compilation of proven techniques that work in any organization, or profession. At first, I too was reluctant to believe there is a one size fits all solution to leadership problems. However, after I read the key principles and concepts I found they are right on point. I read the concepts and was reminded how it worked in another organization. The Evidence Based Leadership skills are based on facts of which leadership interventions works and which ones don’t. Your next book on leadership should be on Evidence Based Leadership. Then you can read other books on successful leadership and suddenly realized they took the long road to success. By understanding the differences between leadership and management and the principles of Evidence Based Leadership you are on the express route to being an exceptional leader.