Why Leadership Is (a) Practice

The word “practice” is typically reserved for specific professions–think medical practice, legal practice, consulting practice, accounting practice–but why?

To my thinking, doctors, lawyers, consultants, accountants, etc. don’t finish their education and simply do what they were taught. Knowledge, laws, best practices, and sheer experience all change one’s capabilities over time–hence it is something that you do (as in apply your current knowledge & skills), as well as something you continually work to improve.

In my experience as a leadership coach, consultant, and leadership professor and scholar, if there is one thing that is similar across “effective leaders” is that they believe they always have room to grow and improve as a leader–not just as a person with a job title or technical expertise.

Practice is used as a noun and a verb (dictionary.com)–and they both apply to leadership:

Noun:

  • the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use
  • repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it

Verb:

  • perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency
  • carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly

We all have good and bad leadership moments and days, then hopefully learn and move forward. I’m writing this blog for anyone interested in approaching leadership as a lifelong commitment to grow through experience, knowledge, trial and error, and perhaps most importantly–reflecting and seeking feedback.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve been fortunate to help more than 800 leaders across industries from companies of all sizes. I coach them, teach them, study them, and conduct deep psychological assessments of them.  My writing here will feature stories, examples, advice, absurdities, and the wisdom of the leaders I have, do, and will continue to help. My goal is to provide deep, rich content that are accessible to anyone, but will likely take on different meanings to leaders at different stages of their careers.

I will help them (you) develop the mindset that leadership is something that cannot be mastered, because because Leadership Is (a) Practice.

Expect a post at least once per week.

Tom

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