The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You And Your Greatness [Book Review]


There are several leadership traits that we each display.  Combined, these traits make up your leadership style.  No one style is the perfect style.  Through trial and error, you hope to learn from what works and what doesn’t.  That is the beginning of being a true leader, understanding who you are.


If you have been in an interview recently, a question that was probably asked was how you achieved a certain success milestone.  What did you answer?  Chances are, if you are in a leadership role, whatever answer you gave represented your leadership archetype.


Lolly Daskal’s new book, “The Leadership Gap:  What Gets between You and Your Greatness”, introduces her system to help executives discover their own leadership style and how to leverage their strengths.  If you want to help your team reach new levels of success, or if you are struggling to achieve consistent results, this book can help.


Lolly Daskal is a well know executive leadership coach.  As founder and CEO of Lead from Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world. Based on a mix of modern philosophy, science, and nearly thirty years coaching top executives, Lolly’s perspective on leadership continues to break new ground and produce exceptional results.


Throughout her many decades of coaching chief executives, she started to notice a pattern.  Within each leader, are powerful abilities that are also hidden impediments to greatness.  Your success as a leader was dependent on a specific set of values and traits.  However, no leader in the world receives consistent success without faltering at some point or even many points in their career.   Even the best executives find that their performance eventually suffers.


All leaders face the same challenges.  You’ve got undeniable strengths and weaknesses to be aware of.  These weaknesses are what Lolly refers to as your Leadership Gap and are often the Shadow of your leadership archetype.  Lolly shares the seven archetypes of leaders and what their respective Gaps are.


The book sets a framework for identifying what your leadership behavior is.  Then it goes on to give you actionable advice on how to face your Gaps.  There are multiple examples of other leaders in this book making it easy to find a story that inspires you.


“One of the best ways to learn is from other people’s successes or even failures.”


Here are the 7 Leadership Archetypes and Their Shadows


The Rebel

Driven by confidence, the rebel has no problem starting projects.  They know they are ready and believe they have what it takes to succeed.


The Gap:  The Imposter who is plagued by self-doubt.  Often referred to as the imposter syndrome, this person questions whether they deserve the success they are receiving.


The Explorer

Fueled by intuition, the explorer has no problem going into unchartered waters.    They trust their intuition and adapt quickly to new paths.


The Gap:  The Exploiter is a master of manipulation.  This is the micro manager who needs to be involved at every step. The Exploiter holds on so tight so as not to lose control.


The Truth Teller

The leader who is the Truth teller embraces candor and sees truth as a call to duty.


The Gap:  The Deceiver who creates suspicion and holds information.


The Hero

There is a hero in all of us.  This leader embodies courage and can be counted on to show up.  The Hero feels fear but does it anyways.


The Gap:  The Bystander who is fearful.  This archetype sees what is not right but does nothing.  The Bystander tends to coast through his duties.


“Life will keep knocking until it knocks you down so you can learn to stand up.” – Lolly Daskal


The Inventor

Brimming with integrity, the inventor is a craftsman and tends to really be good at what they do and how they do it.  They deliver excellence and quality.  They are the best of the best.

They Lead by Example.  They don’t strive for perfect, but excellence.


The Gap:  The Destroyer who is morally corrupt.  In order to go faster, they cut corners.  It’s not about going for great, it’s just about completing the task at hand.


The Navigator

The Navigator trusts and is trusted.  They are smart, capable and disciplined problem solvers making them easy to trust.

The Navigator easily empowers people.  They listen to understand and ask open-ended questions.


The Gap:  The Fixer who is endlessly arrogant.  Often saying phrases like, “I did…. I accomplished…”


The Knight

Loyalty is everything for the knight.  They tend to have a Servant mindset and are about what they can give.

The Knight understands that leadership is never about the leader but the team.


The Gap:  The Mercenary who is perpetually self-serving.  It is not about the team but what the team can bring to them.  “What about me?  What have you done for me lately” are common phrases thought or said by the Mercenary.


Have you identified with one of the Leadership Traits above?  What Gap do you see in yourself?  Don’t be surprised if you have identified with more than one trait.  We are the sum of all our parts.


When you are faced with a challenge, ask yourself, “Are you in your Greatness, or in your Gap?


Gaps show up when you are stressed, challenged or frustrated.  What this book challenges you to do is choose who you can be.


I thought this book had a great approach to leadership with great strategies to find your Greatness.  Your best strategy to achieve success is always the one that comes from within.  The strategy that focuses on the inward actions needed to be intentional about the “you”, you want to be.


What great book have you read recently?