Theory vs. Reality

Reality Check

the•o•ry: A contemplation or speculation; a guess or conjecture. Synonyms include concept, guess, hunch, suspicion, dogma.

re•al•i•ty: The state of being real. Something that exists. Synonyms include actuality, being, existence, genuineness, real world, way of it. Example: Brave in appearance, but in reality a coward.

Apply these two definitions to leadership, and you’ll understand my passion behind this blog!

Theory? We don’t need no (more) stinkin’ theory!

The greatest demand on leaders today isn’t that we learn more theory. In fact they could stop the presses tomorrow, and there would be plenty of books, CDs, DVDs, and podcasts on leadership theories and concepts to last any leader a lifetime.

The challenge we face today is that our learning and talking about leadership is all too often disproportionate to our living true leadership principles in our day-to-day actions.

So how can we transition from being a leadership theorist to a leadership realist? And why the heck am I even talking – or blogging – about it? Am I joining the blogosphere to share my own theories about leadership? No way!

Join the conversation, and hold on.

I don’t want to pontificate about leadership. What I want to do is challenge the way you’ve always thought about and viewed leadership. I want to challenge you – whether you lead from the top, middle, or bottom of the organization – to consider and even question the practicality of your actions.

And I don’t want you to just read this blog. I want your participation. I want you to ask questions, or share an awareness you gained about your own situation. I want to be real, and that might mean we’ll endure a little cognitive discontent. But if we challenge each other to become better leaders, then we’ll accomplish my purpose for this blog.

It’s all about living it out!

I have an insane drive and belief in practical, live-it-out leadership. I’ve been blessed to learn from good and bad leaders in my career, and those experiences have given me a firm foundation. Now, my firm foundation doesn’t make me a perfect leader; In fact, I don’t think my reputation and leadership legacy is something I get to decide. I believe that’s determined by the individuals I leave in my wake.

I hope you’ll join me as we stir it up together and get real with our actions, our people and our standards. Let’s go further than surface deep and address the hard issues of leadership. And let’s motivate ourselves and others by our story – a story that will be based not on leadership theory, but on live-it-out reality.

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  • Linda,

    I have really enjoyed your posts! In fact, I try to send a weekly leadership thought to my staff and to my neighboring leaders of National Weather Service leaders.

    I wanted to share with you, though, that your blogs are very thought provoking even for the public sector, or government. The BEST example I have seen for leadership in government is John Maxwell’s 360 Degree Leadership. The government has so many levels that leaders need to learn how to lead up, down and across. In fact, rather than having the usual organizational chart in my office, I immediately installed the “star” chart on my first staff meeting where the employees are in the middle and the management circles the outside. All ideas have to come from within with management supporting the people who do the actual product.

    Congratulations Linda. This is good information.

    • Linda Sasser says:

      Thanks Dan! So appreciate your comments and glad you are sharing the blog. Maxwell’s 360 is one of his best works! I agree with you!

  • Lisa Copeland says:

    I am excited to follow this blog. You are certainly blazing new trails. You’re authentic in your approach, and humble in style. I look forward to following this daily to help inspire my team to greatness.
    Lisa Copeland
    General Sales Manager
    Nyle Maxwell family of Dealerships

  • Lisa Jack says:

    Wow, Linda, I’m in. You can’t believe what a blessing and inspiration some of the things I’ve seen through facebook that you and Kevin have written have been for me, at a real transitional period in my life. It has to be about “keeping it real.” New job is going well, a great challenge, with wonderful positive people to work with every day and amazing clients. I have found through personal experience that clients can “smell” if you are real, if you know what you are doing, and if you have integrity in all that you do.

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