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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

Using Daskal's "The Leadership Gap"

Fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on perspective) for my staff, I attended the ACSA Women's Leadership Conference in Redondo Beach in September. One of the keynotes raved about Lolly Daskal's book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness. Within a week, all of my direct reports and the principals I am evaluating (affectionately known as our team) had their own personal copies and the year began.

The first task for our team was to read the book. 200 pages or so and a quick read, especially if you scan a leadership style and realize that one doesn't resonate with each of us individually.

The general premise of the book was - what stands between each of us and greatness is our gap. And this book helps us look at the gap.

Daskal has landed on seven different leadership archetypes, including:

- rebel

- explorer

- truth teller

- hero

- inventor

- navigator

- knight

Each has its own strengths and gaps that need to be addressed. After a quick scan, one or two probably sound like you without even needing to crack the book. When I read and evaluated my style, I vacillated on a couple but landed on "navigator." Each of our team members conducted the same self-evaluation and identified their archetype in order to move on. From there, goal setting began around our gap area, with careful analysis of what Daskal suggested in the book.

As a navigator, my leadership style is one that steers people to find practical and pragmatic solutions for complex and challenging problems. At the same time, one main gap of navigators is that they are fixers who want to help. And sometimes fixers might come across as arrogant (her words, not mine). The area to focus on is to help leverage the navigator's skills in problem solving while not overly imposing herself or himself on others.

Now, each archetype has a style and a gap, so no one walks away perfect. As a matter of fact, other gaps include:

- wanting to serve themselves first

- corrupting team projects by cutting corners

- seeing but doing nothing

- creating suspicion by withholding information

- manipulating others to exert control

- fueling one's work with self-doubt

As the year draws to a close, our monthly check-ins on department and individual SMART goals and our gap analysis to see how we are making strides in narrowing those gaps. I'm proud of the work we have done this year with The Leadership Gap and know the personal reflection has been valuable for each and every team member.

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