Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Leadership is a pretty popular topic in today’s business climate. As organizations continue to work through their economic and growth challenges, the pressure and expectations put on leaders, executives and managers to generate immediate results increases. From there, everything rolls downhill and the real work and those related pressures are transferred to the workforce. At one time leadership may have been about guiding and directing people in a near autocratic fashion. In our world today, leadership is very complicated and complex and, like customer service, dangerously close to becoming a lost art.
One of the bigger challenges with leadership today is the internal beliefs that leaders carry that actually limit their ability to lead instead of enhancing their abilities. Managers and executives live in an environment where they believe they must have the answers and must know how to solve every problem. When in the visible world, having any percieved weakness like not completely having the answers, is viewed by the leader as a fault or a shortcoming. When, it is actually an opportunity for the leader to engage the team and demonstrate to the team the leader’s value and trust in the team to help discover a solution or solve a problem.
“Leaderships sucks…everyone looks to you for inspiration, guidance, and answers even when you have none to give. The true test of a leader is when he is as frightened and confused as those who look up to him; in that moment when you can’t find it in yourself you will find it in them — that’s leadership.”
When all else fails, leadership is having the wisdom to know when and how to learn from the team. I encourage those who are in a leadership position to take the time to engage, trust, and learn from your team. It is that interaction that builds and strengthens the team and facilitates the development of the respect of the team in your leadership. People are looking for authentic leadership in every part of their lives. Understanding and accepting that learning is part of the leadership process will build trust, respect, and confidence in your team. More importantly, your team will discover your trust in them and will be more inspired by it.