Learning to be an effective leader is like learning how to drive on ice: there is no way to learn except by doing it. You can read all the books, you can study the craft from a technical perspective, but it is only when you are in the game that you really learn the techniques and nuances necessary for success.
Commit to making measurable progress. While many have the desire to improve, executives often get stuck in information gathering. They can quote every business book and guru but when it comes to execution they rely on same old same old. They know a lot, but the knowledge itself doesn’t matter.
As you learn new strategies, imagine how you can immediately apply them to your current situation. How can you introduce an idea so that your team accurately understands its intent? What would you have to change in your own behavior to make the new approach work? Experiment. If the new strategy doesn’t work, try something else. After all, most change is iterative; building on what has worked in other places can shorten the time it takes to find new strategies that work better for your team.
Continue to challenge yourself by attending conferences, listening to interesting TED Talks, and reading current business literature. They give you a different perspective and often help you get out of your own way by showing you some of the artificial limitations you have unknowingly bought into. Over time you’ll become more confident in your ability to select the best ideas to bring to your team.
Apply what you learn—the last thing anyone really needs in more information.
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