Great Leaders are Great Learners | Confession and Challenge

This post is a bit of a confession and a game plan that maybe we can all use to move forward. 

I have heard so many people say the quote that “great leaders are great learners” and I feel like I used to live and die by this quote.  I need to start this blog though by confessing that I have been a really horrible learner recently.  I used to soak up any moment to develop myself – I would attend conferences, read books and blogs, and spend time with great leaders to learn from them.   The sad part is that recently if I do these things it has simply been to check something off a list or to just get a break from the day-to-day.

Over the past year, I have made the unconscious decision to let the day-to-day of life become so engulfing that I have not taken the time to develop myself personally and it has finally caught up to me.  So, the question is how do we move forward?

If great leaders are great learners (which I believe whole-heartedly), then we have a problem on our hands if we do not stop in the craziness of life to learn.  We need to be learning from those around us, learning from content that is everywhere, and learning by being intentional with some developmental experiences.

We tend to use the excuse that there is simply not enough time, but the truth is that we all get 24 hours each – no more and no less.  The question is how to prioritize to get done what we really want done.  The greatest things in life are typically not urgent so we have to be intentional to make it happen.

So as we move forward here is my plan to reenergize my learning and it’s something that I believe we can do together:

  • Process everything you do:  Even in the craziness of the tasks list, meetings, and projects we all experience things and people we can learn from.  One challenge I have made to myself is how to take the time to stop and process these things.  It is amazing how much we can learn from what we do and what others do around us all day.  I encourage you to get a notepad just for key learning’s.  Let’s take this challenge:  for the next 30 days, write down one key learning every day.  It does not have to be a long journal entry, just a sentence will do.
  • Read: This may sound like a no brainer, but I am shocked at how many leaders I know are not reading on a regular basis.  If we want to be great leaders, we have got to read and gain knowledge.  I would encourage you to read on different topics that interest you.  Every book you read does not have to be a “leadership” book in order to increase your leadership abilities; you can learn from just about anything.  Lets’ take this challenge: For the next 6 months, read at least one book a month.  I would love to hear what you are choosing to read.
  • Quick Content: We live in a world where content and learning is literally at your fingertips all day.  People are producing content online through blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, podcasts, and more constantly.   You can learn so much from great well-known leaders and people who you have never heard of.  The world is getting smaller and smaller and it opens up great avenues to learn.  Let’s take this challenge: Find 2 blogs with content you can learn from and relate to.  Follow these blogs and read a post from them at least once a week.  You will be shocked at how useful some of this quick content can be.

I could go on with more challenges, but I think these three can be easily done and cost you nothing except a little time (assuming you have 6 unread books on your bookshelf).  We have to take the challenge to learn more and more and to expand our thoughts all the time.  If we are learning to be leaders, we have to learn to be learners.

Will you join me in the challenge?

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About Brent Fielder

I am passionate about being intentional with my influence in the next generation. I love to read, write, spend time with friends, and invest in people around me. I am an avid coffee drinker and a raving fan of Chick-fil-A. I am married to an incredible wife and father of two awesome boys.

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