Knowing something is typically equated with a state of being aware – often through observation, inquiry, or information. Leaders need to know things about themselves and their roles in order to be effective.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t move far beyond our state of knowing. We seem satisfied with being aware, instead of transforming what we know into something new and different.
How many of us remember taking an exam in high school or college that depended on knowing a wealth of information about a subject? We likely stayed up late to memorize or adopted other means to help us recall what we thought would be important to pass the test. After the exam, and regardless of the outcome, most of what we thought we knew was probably lost.
The leaders I work with are often surprised or challenged by what they learn about themselves in the classes and coaching sessions. The most effective of those same leaders are the ones who use their newly discovered insights to begin transforming themselves into a better version of who they already are.
If what we learn doesn’t translate into growth, then what’s the point of knowing? When we are satisfied with having new knowledge without allowing it to change our behaviors and actions, why spend time in a classroom?
I have a deep inner drive to learn. I’m always looking for opportunities to read a new book, participate in a webinar, listen to a podcast, or teach others to become better leaders. The process of learning gives me energy.
But I have also learned that knowing without growing is not a recipe for success. I must be willing to apply my knowledge in ways that make me a better person, teacher, coach, or leader. Author Richard Rohr says, “Information is not transformation.”
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ― Daniel J. Boorstin
Our world needs leaders who are filled with knowledge, but also transformed by it in ways that affect how they lead others. Learning about your behavioral style is helpful. Using that knowledge to better understand how your behavior is viewed by others can be transformational.
Pursuing knowledge is a worthy goal but don’t stop there. Use what you are learning to keep growing personally and professionally. Allow your knowledge to transform your leadership.
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