An important question that leaders should ask is, “Am I investing in myself?
Solomon said it like this: “A wise man will hear and increase learning” (Proverbs 1:5, NIV). Actually the whole introductory paragraph in Proverbs is a powerful statement about lifelong learning for leadership development. Here it is from The Message:
A Manual for Living
1 1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women. (Proverbs 1:1-6, MSG)
As you read Proverbs, you realize that Solomon is basically saying: “Class is always in session!” A leader is always learning; always growing! If you continually invest in your leadership development, the inevitable result is growth over time. Although it’s true that some people are born with greater natural gifts than others, the ability to lead is really a collection of skills, nearly all of which can be learned and improved. But that process doesn’t happen overnight.
Leadership is complicated. It has many facets: respect, experience, emotional strength, people skills, discipline, vision, momentum, timing- the list goes on. As you can see, many factors that come into play in leadership are intangible. That’s why leaders require so much seasoning to be effective. The older I get, the more I realize the importance of intentional learning and growing. That is why I am constantly reading, researching and challenging my current level of understanding and skills.
John Maxwell, notes a study of ninety top leaders from a variety of fields, by leadership experts Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, that made a discovery about the relationship between growth and leadership: “It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes 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.
Remember, “class is always in session!” Every day learn from others wiser than yourself and every day you will grow as a leader!