This article is centred around something I discovered for myself through my own personal coaching – namely being too busy leading that I wasn’t making the time to learn.
Here’s the thing. If you’re the founder of a business – or indeed a leader of any sort within a business – you are likely to fall into the trap of spending all your time being a leader and very little time learning how to be a good one.
Whilst my overarching role as an advisor means I am involved in lots of different parts of how a company performs and grows, it is discussions around leading and leadership that take up much of my conversations with clients. Why? Because great leadership is the one thing that sets good companies apart from great ones.
Great leadership changes your business.
One of the first questions I ask clients and businesspeople I speak to is around what kind of leader they are or aspire to be. Frequently, at least in the early days, I’m met with wild-eyed confusion. When pushed on the kind of leadership they aim for, answers range from a person who has inspired them, to a podcast they’ve half listened to, a book they once read or even mentions of TED Talk golden boy, Simon Sinek.
I could spend a large chuck of time acknowledging the pressures leaders have to work in their business rather than on it, but we all know that. The trouble with working ‘in the weeds’ means that you are failing to work on yourself – and can spend quite literally years learning nothing new.
Some leaders rely on those around them to teach them things through osmosis and proximity – but learning through osmosis day-to-day is simply not organised enough – plus you run the risk of being subjected to bias or only learning selectively.
What I’m here to say is that you have NO OPTION but to get better at your job as a leader. And that means taking the time to consume and learn.
I love learning. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy creating my weekly Rambling On content, and it’s the reason I have Trello boards stuffed full of interesting articles, inspiring ideas or ponderous thoughts. Let’s be honest, it’s probably also the reason for the frequent eye-rolls I receive from Mrs B as I extol yet more of my ‘fascinating’ finds.
The trouble (or should that be the joy) of learning is that to do it properly, you must take the time to actively seek out. And there is an astonishing amount of valuable, challenging and interesting thinking out there.
My advice is simply this, start consuming it. Read some articles, listen to a podcast, buy a book. Perhaps it will be rubbish, but perhaps not. Take some time to decide if the content was useful to you and let that guide where you go next. I promise you it will be time well spent.
If you want a starting point, I think Multipliers by Liz Wiseman is a great resource for helping you to face up the type of leader you actually are versus the type of leader you want to be.