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Creating Successful Leaders

Strong leaders are avid, continual learners. They don’t stop seeking out new opportunities after they’ve graduated, or once they’ve landed a job; they treat everyday as another chance to acquire knowledge and skills.

No good leader can go without this ingrained drive toward learning. Why, you ask?

1. Leadership Is More About What You Do Than What You Say

As a leader, you set the standards. You may say all sorts of things about your expectations for your team, but it isn’t your words they’ll be watching, it’s your actions. In order to lead, you must act according to the standards you put in place.

This means leading the charge in the pursuit of innovation and discovery. It means diving into uncharted territory, getting your hands dirty, and making mistakes. It does not mean delegating tasks from the sidelines.

2. Leadership Roles Change Between Times And Circumstances

Thus, in order to remain a relevant leader, you must learn and continue to learn. Just because you were in a leadership role 10 years ago does not necessarily mean you’re qualified to lead today. Each situation you encounter presents new challenges that can only be accomplished with an appetite for new knowledge. There’s a reason why medical doctors are required to continue their specialized education long after they graduate from medical school. Could you imagine going to a surgeon who was using standard practices from the 1940s?

3. Great Leaders Seek Innovators And Innovation

Every great leader is adept at seeking out individuals with specific strength sets and building a functional team from the bottom up. For a team to be successful, you’ll have to find people who probably know quite a bit about things you know nothing at all about. Thus, you’ll have to do a bit of learning in order to adequately assess a candidate’s potential, and to communicate with them effectively.

4. Well-Rounded People Make The Best Leaders

To be well-rounded, you need to learn a wide array of subjects, disciplines and areas of expertise. You don’t need to be an expert at everything, but it’s important to have a working knowledge of the world outside of your niche, as it gives you a greater sense of perspective and maturity. Go outside your comfort zone; read history or philosophy if you’ve always been a numbers person. Take public speaking classes if you’re shy (Toastmasters is a great club for this). Learn a language. Focus on areas you’ve told yourself that you’re bad at, and give it another go. You may surprise yourself.


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