Leadership is about growth and development, if you are not growing and developing on a continuous basis, you are simply not working hard enough. Leading is like being a student in a laboratory; every day you should conduct experiments to see what works and what doesn’t. After trying your hand at leading, you go back to the drawing board to tweak your style and approach. Students are constantly challenged to look for new ideas and to develop fresh thinking. The key is to keep learning. As a student of leadership you must immerse yourself in all things concerning leadership – you must practice it, you must talk about it, and you must live it every day. You must keep experimenting because you never really “master” leadership. Every day you will face new situations that call for different ways of leading.
Being a student takes effort – you have to study hard, you have to seek understanding, and you have to interpret what you learn. Furthermore, as a student of leadership, you have to apply leadership theories and concepts to real-life problems and situations dealing with people, processes, and systems. Being a student implies a search for knowledge and wisdom. Students focus on learning new concepts to deepen their understanding and to acquire new knowledge, so should the practicing leader; in fact, you never “finish” your journey as a leader because there is always something new to learn.
The key to becoming a student of leadership is to continuously hone your craft and to work towards becoming a master at the art of leading people. The main purpose of your study is for you to grow and to get better at what you do. This study can take the form of practical hands-on experience, reading, or observing other leaders in action. A key benefit of being a student is that you can experiment with the tools and knowledge you gain… you can pick and choose different tools and techniques until you find those that work for you. The next step is to find ways to apply the lessons that you learn so that they become part of who you are as a leader.
Author and speaker, John Maxwell developed the 5 Levels of Leadership model to outline the growth that a leader experiences over time. This growth is not automatic; in fact, you could potentially be a Level 1 Leader for your entire career. You must consciously decide to take the necessary steps to move up to Level 2. You must increase your learning to make the transition from one level to the next higher level – you do that by becoming a student of leadership – devoting your time and effort to becoming the best leader you can be.
How do you become as student of leadership? You must study leadership ideas and theories in order to capture the essence of leadership; however, this study is not an end in itself; your study should be leveraged and transformed into actionable ideas that you can use in the leadership laboratory called life and work.
Tips for becoming a student of leadership:
- Learn how great leaders think;
- Identify what great leaders study and read;
- Learn how other leaders think about leading and leadership;
- Leadership involves communicating and advocating ideas effectively – do you know how to communicate an idea effectively?
- Leading is a contact sport; you must get engaged with people and their issues;
- Learn how other leaders use their experiences to grow, to get better, and to transform;
- Study the different styles of leadership and learn how and when to use each effectively;
- Leaders seek opportunities to lead on different levels, in different environments, and in changing circumstances.
Vernon Myers is the founder of 100LeadershipInsights.com, a site dedicated to observing, reflecting, gaining insight, and taking action on leadership insights. I am seeking to connect with people who have ideas, insights, and leadership experiences to share.
Vernon is also the author of The Idea Journal visit his website at Get the Idea Journal [http://www.ideamerge.net/products/] to find out how to unleash your urge to create.
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