One of my favorite things to do is to speak to sales leaders. Thankfully, it’s something I’ve had the opportunity to do many times over my career. In fact, just this week I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of field leaders from one of our clients.
Inevitably, the question comes up, “What can I do to become a better leader?”
And my answer is always the same – never stop learning. Now some believe that means to learn on the job, and indeed that is an important area were lessons of how to lead can be learned, but the truly great leaders go well beyond that. They have a passion for seeking ways to broaden their perspective and enhance their skills through a process of continuous learning.
There are of course outstanding books and blogs to read – I read over 24 books every year and faithfully read 7 blogs each week. I also personally find that learning from others who have walked the path I wish to take is an outstanding way of learning to be an even better leader. In fact, with over three decades of leading high-performing teams, I have two coaches that I count on heavily to become even better at what I do.
But what one does with these new learnings is as equally important as the learnings themselves. Dan Rockwell recently posted some excellent perspective on what to do with leadership learnings in his LeadershipFreak blog entitled, “A Single Transformational Question”. In this blog, Dan talks about the questions you should ask yourself once you have achieved new learnings:
- How might the things you are learning change you?
- What might you do differently in view of what you’re learning about yourself?
- How might your learnings change the way you treat others and yourself?
- In view of your learnings, what might you need to stop doing?
- How might the things you’re learning cause you to redefine what matters now?
Dan is spot on with this perspective – it is not just about learning new things but actually taking action and changing the way you lead based on those learnings that is the true essence of leadership.
Make no mistake about it, I believe I know a lot about leading high-performing teams after leading them for over 30 years and engaging in my own commitment to continuous learning. Within all of that, the one thing I know for sure is that I can still be better at what I do.
I truly believe that leadership is not a destination but rather a journey that never ends. And I can share with you that the beauty of the leadership journey is that it continues to grow in satisfaction as it progresses. That satisfaction is driven by watching those who I have had the pleasure to lead be successful in their own right – leading their businesses and their people on their own journey of success.