When it comes being an effective leader in any organization, an important attribute is the strive for never-ending improvement – either for the company or for the leader themself through continuous learning. The Japanese is well known for such philosophy in their corporate culture known as “kaizen.”
Remember: if you are not growing, you are dying.
If you want to be a better leader, you not only need to constantly be learning about the business you’re in to ensure you know more about it than anyone else to stay up to date with the changing times and trends but also about yourself.
The more you know about yourself, the more adroit you become in adapting the leadership skills you are needing or lacking to spearhead the business on where it needs to be going on a grand-scale vision to prosper.
Being a leader is somewhat being a Jack-of-all-trades in knowledge of the company – its culture, its people, its products, and everything else in between – and doesn’t mean you have to be skilled at everything that goes on in the company.
You can not become a great leader if you don’t have the heart of a student on the business and on the leadership. Obviously, the business you’re in will vary, but if you are feeling rusty on the leadership side, here’s a primer to follow to brush you up on in that department.
Look for leadership educational training in your area. For instance, local community colleges will likely offer classes which you can take for free or low cost if you are not seeking a degree. In fact, solidify in your mind that you are not attending these classes for any other reason other than to audit them and gain as much know-how as you can from the instructional lessons. You will learn the necessary craftsmanship for the making of a fine leader and beyond.
Every month, you should be reading at least one book about leadership and business. There’s a saying that “leaders are readers,” and you need to embrace that. Read at least one book. You don’t have to own any book; go to the library and get your library card to check books out and develop a habit of reading religiously to further expand your understanding of the world that will contribute immensely to effective leadership.
Every great leader starts somewhere to where they are with the help of a mentor or teacher who they followed and learned from. If you don’t have someone whom you can look up to, then simply go to networking events in your field and put yourself out there. Pay attention to those experts leading the pack and try to connect with them. They are humans after all, so don’t be afraid of getting brushed aside because, nonetheless, you will at least gain some insights you may not have had before. Either way, studying from someone better than you is critical to your ongoing quest to becoming better yourself.
Pay close attention and attune to those surrounding you. Be sensitive to those under your leadership regarding what they respond to and what they work best with. Upon doing so, you will better understand the type of leader who they respond to the most, and that will cue you in on how to calibrate your leadership style to get across to your followers.
Being a leader involves learning as much as leading. The more you work with learning, the more your leadership capability will increase overall. The roles of a leader and a learner go hand in hand.