Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leaders Are Learners

Years ago I learned a significant leadership principle that has helped me grow tremendously as a leader.  Not only is this leadership principle significant, it is also simple:  Leaders are Learners.

John Maxwell teaches that the moment we stop learning we stop leading; therefore it is essential that we become life-long effective learners if we desire to be life-long effective leaders.  I want to grow continually as a leader.  Last week I attended Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership Workshop.  I came away with pure gold in leadership teaching.  The principles and practices he taught will help me to be a better leader to those I lead.

In John Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership  he presents the "The Law of Process"  This is the excerpt:

"In a study of ninety top leaders from a variety of fields, leadership expert Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus made a discovery about the relationship between growth and leadership; " It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguish leaders from their followers."  Successful leaders are learners.  And the learning process is ongoing, a result of self-discipline and perseverance.  The goal each day must be to get a little better, to build on the previous day's progress."

Simply put... leaders are learners.  Leaders NEVER arrive and leaders are always interested in becoming better.  Some "leaders" want to become better for themselves...but I will argue that REAL LEADERS seek to become better because they want to impart this information to the people who follow them.  Leadership that is all about YOU is not leadership at all!  We learn so that we are better stewards of the people we have been given to lead.

If you are leading ANYTHING and you are not doing what it takes to improve, people who are following you will either fall by the wayside or the leaders following you will begin to pass you up!

What leadership lessons have you learned recently?  What are your plans to continue to learn?  It is true that the best leaders are learners.  This is easier when you are "starting out" on your leadership journey.  I find, however, that many leaders lose that hunger after a few years.  Continuing to learn over time is what separates successful leaders from unsuccessful leaders. 

Keep learning so that:
  • You can be your best in your current leadership role.
  • You can be ready for your next opportunity.
  • You can model growth for those that you lead.
  • Your leadership won't wither and die.  We are either growing and wilting.

My Leadership Plan for 2012:
    • Reading 12 Leadership Related Books
    • Listening to at least one Leadership Lesson per month
    • Attending at least one Leadership Conference or Workshop
    • Participating in at least 4 Mastermind Groups on Leadership
    • Teaching Leadership
    Growth requires intentionality.  Take some time and develop a learning plan.