Theorizing leadership

I could be grossly wrong about this but people view leadership as a concept that’s to be applied than a way of life. Although there’s nothing wrong with seeing it as a concept, I feel people who think in those lines usually end up classifying leadership as an ideal theory.

I’ve spoken and written at lengths about leadership as a practice, so, I wouldn’t expound on it here. But I do want to emphasize that there’s a difference between knowing and doing. Everyone knows what leadership is, thanks to all those self-help books, the internet, and gurus out there, but nobody tells you practicing it is hard work.

In fact, there’s nothing as hard as practicing leadership. It’s always changing and ever-evolving because people are going through the same! How the heck would you expect to shoot a moving target? Well, you practice it. Day in and day out.

The big question is: when are you going to show up? When you’re finally upgrade to that management position? Or when someone calls you a leader?

They say you can’t create nothing out of nothing. And while it makes sense, it doesn’t apply to you. You know the concepts of what it takes a person to lead themselves or others. That’s something. All you have to do is apply it, practice it, and keep at it until you become better. And then, you rinse and repeat.

Easy, right? Then why don’t people do it often? Why do people classify leadership into an idealistic theory that lacks practical application? I wish I had a clue. But what I do understand is applying theories gets inconvenient very fast and people don’t have the time or patience to see themselves go through the hoops of incremental improvements.

As with most things in life, you won’t get it right the first time. You just keep at it until you get better.

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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