Psychology Today: You know leadership, time for you to do leadership

01 Jan 2024
3 mindsets that can close your knowing-doing gap.

Originally found at Psychology Today


  • Leaders' mindsets can prevent them from putting knowledge into practice.
  • Recent research shows that mindsets can be intentionally changed.
  • You can reduce your own knowing-doing gap in three mindset-focused steps.

If you manage people and are reading this, you probably know at least some of the basics of good leadership. But … have you consistently applied this knowledge at work, say, over the past year? If not, you may have a case of the “knowing-doing gap.” You are not alone—not even in a minority. Managers everywhere admit to a gap between their “knowing" leadership and their “doing" leadership (Ahmadi & Vogel, 2023).

A real-life story: "Crossroads Life"

Take Clara, the protagonist of “Crossroads Life.” “Crossroads” is a film that recounts the real-life leadership journey of an executive in a multinational organization. Newly promoted to CFO at headquarters, Clara has a confrontational meeting with 12 country managers, regarding a thorny cost-allocation issue. She has spent many long evenings poring over heaps of documents and distilling an analysis that would be fair to everyone—but instead of appreciating the work, the country managers turn against her. After the meeting, exhausted and dispirited, she chooses to skip the evening’s social activity.

When they’ve reached this point in the film, participants in my executive development course pass a severe judgment: “A rookie mistake! It’s obvious that she needs to socialize with those managers to build trust!”

Continue reading the original article at Psychology Today.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal and Academy of Management Learning & Education.

Read the Academy of Management Insights summary.

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