This is a series of thoughts from "Competitive Leadership: 12 Principles for Success" by Brian Billick. Part V deals with being knowledgeable:
“Read intelligence is a creative use of knowledge, not merely an accumulation of facts. The slow thinker who can finally come up with an idea of his own is more important to the world than a walking encyclopedia who hasn’t learned how to use this information productively.”
-D. Kenneth Winebrenner
There is a tradition adage… "knowledge is power.”...the more appropriate way of stating this point would be “knowledge properly used can be power.”
Understanding the relationship between knowledge and leadership involves several factors.
Knowledgeable leaders do not have to have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of their organizations (businesses). It is beneficial, however, for them to have a broad, working knowledge of the basic activities of the organization, as well as the ability to apply that knowledge as appropriate.
“I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”
Effective leadership also involves an awareness of the need for lifelong learning.
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
“Coaching speed”...the speed in which you want it slowed down a little for teaching purposes.
Learning involves at least two steps that many people find distasteful — thinking and changing.
Learning requires thinking — an activity that educational psychologists suggest most individuals devote very little of their time to on a daily basis (less than 40 minutes daily for the average person and probably must less). As opposed to processing information (where your mind is engaged in a series of actions, such as retrieving, sorting, labeling and storing information), thinking involves more complex undertakings, such as solving a complicated problem, making a difficult decision, struggling with an idea, etc.
Learning also involves changing. To learn, to develop, to grow, you must change. To a degree, change involves an element of risk. Although skillful leaders tend to be risk takers, most individuals are relatively uncomfortable dealing with situations that may involve an abandonment of their normal way of doing and thinking about things.
Skillful leaders, however, embrace change as a growth opportunity — not as a challenge to their level of authority or personal comfort zone.
Effective leaders also appreciate the need for creating an environment where their followers have the opportunity to learn not only from their leadership, but also from the group as a whole.
Leaders should foster learning and the exchange of knowledge.
When group learning is effective, problem solving is improved. Communication efforts are enhanced. The followers’ acceptance of the organization’s goals is heightened.
...you, as a leader, need to develop and implement a plan for group learning that makes learning a strategic choice for your organization.
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
-George S. Patton
One of the most valuable traits that a leader can possess is the ability to be an independent thinker. Independent thinking involves reaching decisions and making objective judgments based on your own experiences and observations, rather than simply relying on the statements or opinions of others.
In fact, there is a third level: interdependent interaction with those around you. This level involves having such confidence in your own abilities that you’re not afraid to initiate interaction with those around you.
When people feel like their ideas are being acted upon and can be implemented into the game plan, it heightens both their learning curve and their level of productivity.