In my article How to build a winning team, it outlined the 7 components to good coaching and leadership. But are leaders born or made?
Guest Blogger Kevin Sinclair has this article on The Key to Successful Leadership.
Are leaders born or made? The old adage states that leaders are in fact born. I disagree with that partially. Anyone can learn to become a leader, and be a successful one at that. That is the key, learning. Leadership is a process, one that requires learning and understanding.
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the leaders in network marketing and the people that struggle everyday? They have an understanding, that in order to be successful you must take what each day gives you and learn from it and grow. Being a successful leader simply requires that you never stop learning. I have always believed that the day you stop learning is really the day you stop living. In business, they day you stop learning is the day that your business stops growing.
First you must understand the difference between management and leadership. Management controls and directs people and resources using already established guidelines. Whereas leadership is when you set new directions and create a new vision for group. This difference is where people get lost. Look at your business, are you giving the people under you the same information that you were given to start your business or are you the one looking for ways to improve the business, not only for yourself but those people under you. A successful business leader is someone who is constantly looking for ways to improve and grow and teach his followers the same.
The process of learning for business leadership means that you spend the time to become familiar with the different theories of leadership. Practice your skills daily in all areas of your life. Family, friends, your co-workers, the neighbor next door, the clerk at the grocery store will see by your actions the type of leader that you are by the way you interact with them. How you live your life, the organization and attention to responsibilities that you have. Being a successful leader of your self proves that you can be a successful business leader.
Learning is so important
Survey after survey shows that overall that at least 92% find learning to be a confidence builder and enjoyable. Learning something new and mastering that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose. In the last century we have progressed from the Industrial Age through the Information Age to now the Knowledge Age. It will be vital to be able to obtain, assimilate and apply knowledge, the right knowledge effectively over the next hundred years. Success of a person will no longer be based solely on what they have done but also by what they will be able to do. How willing that person will be to learn and adapt in the future.
Learning is the key to achieving our fullest potential. It has the power to transform us, allowing us to become more successful at home, at work and within our community. Learning helps us find new solutions to our problems and change not only our own attitude but those of the people around us.
Ways to Learn
It is scientifically proven that people learn in different ways. Understanding how you learn is the key to making learning fun. There are people that learn best by reading. If you are one of those people then read books on leadership, philosophy, psychology and famous leaders. Learning to understand people and yourself are important in becoming a successful leader. Some people learn by listening, so use technology to help you. There are books on CD and audio, you can even download them on to an iPod or MP3 player. Some people learn by doing, so they get the idea and then they try it, practice it and perfect it. Maybe you are one of those people that learn better by combining the different techniques. There isn’t any one right way to learn, and the only people that can’t learn are those that don’t want to.
Lead Through Learning
People have to believe that they can achieve something that seems beyond their reach. So offering an encouraging and supportive environment helps to increase their willingness to try. It is a wonderful thing to be a leader that is constantly evolving and finding new ways to improve, but you also need to offer those opportunities to the people that you are leading.
Repetition is also important to leading through learning. The chances of a person retaining a concept that has been introduced to them dramatically increases the more that they are exposed to it. So don’t just show them on Monday and figure that they will be able to use it the following Monday. Less then 2% of people will be able to remember and use the concept. People need to be exposed to a concept 6 times in the course of a week. They then will retain that for 15 years. How can I prove this, look at TV commercials – who doesn’t remember the little gray haired lady yelling “Where’s the beef?!” Repetition, repetition, repetition is the key to success.
To be a successful leader, you must be a lifelong learner. Leadership does not only apply to our professional lives, but our personal life as well. From the way we handle a situation at work to the way we interact with the everyday people in our life. Being a leader is not something that you do, it is something that you are.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of my-personal-growth.com, a site that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth and development.
Frank S. Adamo says
I agree that leaders are not born, perhaps more than you. I suggest that anyone wanting to be a leader go one step further. Join Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org).
Just like communication skills, we can read books and/or listen to CDs and DVDs, but we also have to put it into practice. There’s no better way to practice and learn leadership (hands on) than joining Toastmasters.
Terri Ferrara says
Really enjoyed what Kevin said about leadership and the key ingredient of a successful leader is continual learning and understanding! So many leaders become complacent and think they don’t need to continue to learn. I blogged on my website about what Kevin said at summitviewcareercoaching.com/blog.
Jimson Lee says
@Frank – yes, I agree, you have to apply what you read, listen on CD, or watch on a DVD… Great speaking skills help in COMMUNICATION!
@Terri – Famous Track coack John Smith admits he is still learning, despite having produced several world class athletes. See https://speedendurance.com/2007/07/16/10-ways-to-make-it-great-a-book-review/