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We all go through stages when we learn. It’s part of it. It becomes dangerous, though, when we think we know whatever that topic is when we are only at level one.

Too often, when people “learn” leadership, they are stuck in level 1 knowledge. It’s part of the process, but it’s dangerous when we are stuck there.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • What does the danger of a little knowledge really mean?
  • Why do we need to realize when we’re on level one knowledge of certain things?
  • Why do we need to move beyond manager versus leader level one knowledge?

Full Episode Transcript

(00:01)

In this episode, we’re going to talk about the danger of a little knowledge. Now, one of the other titles I was thinking about for this episode was why we need to move beyond Manager verse Leader. And these are actually kind of related topics, the danger of a little knowledge more we need to move beyond manager verse leader.

The reason I was thinking that second one was because a few years ago when I was pretty active on LinkedIn, I saw a lot of leadership verse manager memes those little post graphics about them and it would be like, this is why a leader is great and all the qualities, this is why managers are terrible and all their terrible qualities.

I saw them over and over and I understand what people are doing by posting them. They’re trying to post good qualities of leaders, but it kind of misses the point of their purposes of management functions, at least from my perspective and the jobs I’ve seen, I don’t like to say in absolute, but in general, if someone’s a manager and most positions I’ve seen jobs, you also need leadership qualities.

You need leadership functions and you need to do that as well. So I think part of it misses the point and part of it is just very, again, cliches and it’s very superficial and we need to get beyond that. We need to talk about really what is good leadership. We need to get beyond the superficial. We do need to get beyond that and it does relate to the danger of little knowledge. Let’s talk about that.

(01:39)

What does the danger of a little knowledge really mean?

What do I mean by the danger of a little knowledge? So I want you to think about this, and you may have seen this when it comes to different things you do, and other things you learn. So for example, you’re learning guitar. I consider this like level-one knowledge. When you start learning guitar, you learn a lot, you learn fast, you learn quickly.

It’s all new, it’s awesome, amazing. And you keep going up and up in that curve and eventually that growth ends because you’ve learned the basics and then it becomes harder and it takes more to kind of see as much growth because you know the basics to learn more.

It’s a slower process. You can go, you can get better, but it’s just, it seems slower because at first, it was fast because everything was new. But now, it seems to be a slower trajectory.

What happens sometimes in that level one knowledge when you’re first learning, is you learn some guitar chords, you become good at some of these guitar chords and so then you start playing with your friends.

Maybe you try to impress people, you play Wonder Wall, or whatever the top song is. People like to play on guitar now and so on. You learn these songs, you play them. The danger is when you think you’re suddenly great at guitar because you know the chords.

Don’t get me wrong, knowing the chords on the guitar is excellent. You can do a lot with it. You can play rhythm, but you don’t really know guitar as well as you could. You’re not at a higher level of knowledge yet. You’re just a kind of level-one knowledge.

There are scales, there’s music theory and there’s so much more you can do with it than in court or knowing a couple of songs when you’re at that level one, you can teach people some of that stuff, but you’ve got to realize where you’re at. You’re at level-one knowledge, you’re at the basics.

What I think sometimes happens when it comes to leadership and other soft skills. I see a lot with goal setting, maybe even sometimes with time management that people get that level one knowledge. They’re like, ah, I learned about smart goals.

I know smart goals. Smart goals are amazing. I should do everything. Smart goals, everybody should do smart goals and they may teach smart goals, they may push smart goals and they do this and that.

That’s not necessarily bad. Smart goals can be helpful. There are places for smart goals. Smart goals are not the all in all, they’re not everything that sometimes people make them out to be. There are things like stretch goals and other things that you should do and not every goal technically has to be a smart goal.

(04:13)

Why do we need to realize when we’re on level one knowledge of certain things?

And there can be issues with smart goals sometimes. So smart goals can be good and it’s great that you learn them, but you need to realize sometimes that you’re at level one knowledge with them. There’s a deeper level when it comes to goal setting. It’s great to learn great things about time management and it’s good to know and it’s good to share those things.

There’s nothing wrong with it. All of us start on level one and go up, but we need to realize when we’re on level one. When it comes to leadership, many things I see seem to be level-one knowledge. A lot of the posts, the clichés, the graphics, a lot of them seem to be level one and very superficial.

"All of us start on level one and go up, but we need to realize when we're on level one." ~ Thomas R. Harris Click To Tweet

That’s what I mean by why we need to move beyond manager versus leader. Often we get stuck and the common knowledge, common practice that people do is the level one knowledge. It’s, I’ve learned some information, some of it is good, but it’s not the be all in all. It’s not everything. And sometimes we don’t understand the other aspects of the things we learn that could be a danger or could be wrong or things of that nature.

So one thing that I find for example, for level one knowledge is when it comes to leadership styles, I see people have a lot of big misconceptions about those and if you look at that, it’s one of the widely searched things on the internet, but the things posted often about it are often honestly wrong or there’s a big misconception of how they’re presented.

(05:43)

Why do we need to move beyond manager versus leader level one knowledge?

Now when it comes to this podcast as a whole, the danger of a little knowledge, why we need to move beyond manager versus leader level one knowledge is that people who want to be great leaders need to get beyond level one knowledge.

Level one knowledge can be normal because we all go through that stage. It’s just not good if we stay there. And that’s what I mean by the danger of a little knowledge because sometimes things that we learn, they’re true in ways, they’re good in ways, but we don’t have the whole story of it because we don’t have that deeper knowledge of it.

We haven’t gone to the next level. It’s a good practice, a good thing to do, but we’re not quite there yet. We just know part of it when we think we know it all because we know a little that can be dangerous and we can make mistakes. So let’s make that commitment to really go deeper in our knowledge.

Let’s go past the clichés, let’s go past the superficial graphics and memes, and let’s really dive into what it means to be a great leader and become great leaders.

"The danger of a little knowledge, why we need to move beyond manager versus leader level one knowledge is that people who want to be great leaders need to get beyond level one knowledge." ~ Thomas R. Harris Click To Tweet

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of No More Bad Leaders. If this episode meant something to you, I would be honored if you share it with someone who would benefit from it. You can find more episodes here.

If you have any comments, questions, or inquiries, feel free to contact me.

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