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I am sure that many of you can relate to that title. Probably when you were young, you received some toy that had that statement printed on the box. I am not sure about you, but I always had this sinking feeling in my stomach when I read it. I always said a secret little prayer, hoping that my parents had thought far enough ahead to purchase the batteries.

There were times when I would open the box and with my sad little eyes I would look towards my mother, and she would say something like “what size does it take? I am sure that we have them around here somewhere.” We never did, for some reason we always had a ton of D cells. Toys never run on D cells.

I once had a friend who’s dad gave him a big box of batteries one year for Christmas with a note that said “toys not included.” He ended up in therapy.

You might be asking yourself what any of my past troubles have to do with leadership. Well, that is a good question, so let me explain.

You see, it is my belief that leadership skills can be taught to almost anyone. This does not make them a leader; it just gives them knowledge about leadership. It is sort of like learning all about a combustible engine but never knowing how to change a spark plug. I recently heard this from a pastor, “learning about sheepology does not make you a shepherd.” Knowledge does not indicate skill level.

I have also met people that have a natural gift of leadership. It is amazing to watch someone with this gift. When placed in a group of people, and something needs to be accomplished, the crowd naturally looks to them for leadership. It is not a title or an election that puts them in the role; it is the natural gift that others see.

This brings me back to the battery story. I imagine that some of you are reading this blog because you feel that you have received this natural gift. You are the one that others look to when it is time to get something done. I would like to congratulate you on your gift. I am happy that have recognized it, and I assume that you have taken it out of the box and possibly used it a couple of times.

I want to let you know that this gift of leadership is a great gift and can be used to accomplish many great deeds. I just want to encourage you to put the batteries in it. If you do, I promise you that your gift will work like it was designed when it is powered by the correct stuff.

The batteries that I am speaking about comes in the form of books, blogs, seminars, and coaching. Many of us, me included, just think that our natural gift can be used right out of the box without any additional tools or instructions. Well, you are correct; you can use it without any of the above-mentioned items. However, you will not be using it to it fullest capabilities. It would like having a new Corvette and using it as a fort in your backyard. It might be a great fort, but that is not what it was designed for.

This week’s experiment comes in the form of a couple of questions. Are you reading any books on leadership to help you with your gift? Are you being coached by another leader to help you with your leadership gift? What are you doing to fine tune your gift? Are you placing batteries in your gift?

I want to end by sharing a couple of my favorite books on leadership. Some of these, I read once a year just to refresh my memory on how to use the gift. Oh yea, one last thing, congratulations on your gift. Have fun with it!

Next Generation Leader – By Andy Stanley
Lead Like Jesus – By Ken Blanchard
Leaders Eat Last – By Simon Sinek
Developing the Leader Within You -By John Maxwell
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – By John Maxwell & Steven Covey