Do You Have Gaps?

The only honest answer to that question is yes. If you’re a leader who believes they don’t have any gaps in their skills or abilities then you are likely a leader who has been blinded by their success.

Even the most successful, authentic, and committed leaders have skill gaps. They have gaps not because they are poor leaders but because they are human. All humans have gaps of one type or another, I’m guessing it’s just part of being alive.

Authentic Servant Leaders deal with their gaps in one of two ways, they either grow themselves to fill their own gaps or they hire people who can fill the gaps for them. Most likely, they do some of both. They realize that they can’t excel at everything and they also realize that not everything that needs to be done needs to be done by them.

Step one for filling your gaps is acknowledging that you have some. 

This is going to require honesty and the courage to admit to some shortcomings. You will never fill a gap that you can’t admit to having so admit where you’re weak and deal with it. If you’ve decided to fill your own gap then take a class, read a book, talk with your mentor or someone who doesn’t have that particular gap. Whatever you do, do it now! Procrastination is the worst possible way to deal with any gap.

If you’re going to hire someone to fill your gap then once they are hired you need to allow them to actually fill it. Let them do their job. Micro-managing something that you couldn’t manage to begin with is totally unproductive and will quickly destroy the morale of the “gap-filler” you just hired. If you’ve summoned up the courage to acknowledge your gap and you’ve hired a qualified individual to fill it then dig a bit deeper for even more courage to let them do their job. 

Mentor if you must, (and yes, you must) but don’t mettle in details that you don’t truly understand. Remember why you hired the person in the first place!

The acknowledgement of gaps and the process of filling them is a constant of leadership. As a leader you can never stop growing, you can never stop learning and you absolutely can’t afford to think for even a moment that you’ve learned all you need to know. 

Great leaders never get where they are going because once they get someplace they know that they aren’t there anymore. Great leaders know that few things of consequence stay the same for even a second, almost everything is always changing. That’s why true leadership isn’t a destination, its a journey. (Just an aside here, principles and core values DO NOT change, regardless of the circumstances a leader may find themselves in) 

The very second you start to think you’re “good enough” you’re not good enough anymore. So don’t think in terms of good, focus on better, always better, and as your abilities and knowledge grow your gaps will shrink. 

Now, do you have gaps?

9 thoughts on “Do You Have Gaps?

  1. Great article… knowing your limitations and how to make sure they don’t affect the organization is an important lesson that many learn the hard way.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I think it was Mark Twain who said ” it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble, it’s what you know that ain’t so.”

      Believing we are good at something that we’re not leads to disaster. It’s why I always recommend that everyone have a mentor. They see us as we are, not how we think we are.

  2. We all have gaps. The successful people recognize this fact and are always looking to uplevel their personal foundation. That’s where true growth happens.

    I agree that if you think you’ve arrived and have nothing left to improve, you’re pretty much done as a leader, person, etc.

    Although I have over a decade of experience being a professional coach, not to mention the 25 plus years as a sales executive, every day my attitude is -What’s a new skill or awareness I can internalize that will uplevel my personal foundation.”

    You can only take your clients, followers, etc. as far as you’ve taken yourself.

    1. Great point Steve, no leader or coach worth anything would ask their people to do more, go further or risk more than they were willing to do or risk themselves, and not just willing, but actually already had done or risked.

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