Learning to Lead
Travis Scott spent the better half of a decade doing what society taught – go to college, get a job, and work in that career for the rest of your life. After realizing he wanted more, Travis changed careers and changed his life. Now, he loves what he does, and at his website, www.MakingTheComeback.com. He is an aspiring speaker, coach, and blogger.
It’s no secret many people strive for success in their lives. Whether you want to be a great parent, successful in your career, or an awesome spouse, there is one common denominator that will help you achieve that success: Leadership.
Unfortunately leadership is not something we typically discuss in school. I never had the option to take a “Leadership 101″ course in high school, college, or my MBA program. There was definitely no degree I could obtain in Leadership when I went to school.
So if schools typically don’t teach leadership, is it possible to learn leadership? How do people become leaders? Can we improve our leadership skills?
These are all great questions and my answer is a simple, YES! However, enhancing your skills does not come through osmosis. You need to develop a self-education program and learn from people who are already great leaders. John Maxwell said it best, “To lead tomorrow, learn today.”
Here are three ways you can improve your leadership IQ:
1) Read Books
The first place to start if you want to become a better leader is to open up a book (or launch your Kindle app). There are literally thousands of books written by great leaders. You can get great insight from those who have led thousands of people, turned small companies into billion-dollar brands, or who are raising awesome kids.
If you are having a difficult time figuring out which books to read, here are a few I recommend:
John Maxwell – 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
John Maxwell – Leadership 101
Brian Tracy – How the Best Leaders Lead
Zig Ziglar – See You at the Top
Jim Collins – Good to Great
John Wooden – Wooden on Leadership
Dave Ramsey – Entreleadership
2) Listen to Podcasts/Audio Books
Alex recently wrote a post on the Leadership Dojo about the best podcasts to listen to for leaders and I suggest you check it out because it ROCKS!
The average American spends 500 hours in the car per year. Most of these hours are commuting to work and this is valuable time where you could be learning.
When I started my first job out of college, I had a 45 minute commute each way. There were no podcasts then, but I always had books on tape in my car (yes, back then it was cassette tapes). This is the best place to learn and devour information on how to become a better leader. Those hours I spent listening to leaders helped me advance in my career and finally, to totally change careers during one of the worst job markets of our time.
3) Find a Mentor
The fastest way to improve your leadership skills is to find a leader you want to emulate. Getting to the top is difficult and it is even more difficult if you try to do it alone. So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, learn from someone who already has the battle wounds.
Find someone who is more successful than you and who will give you honest feedback. If you can find someone like this, then you will watch your career take off. You will be more successful than you can imagine.
If you implement these three ways to improve your leadership skills, the next year of your life will improve dramatically. You will look back and wonder, “What Happened?”…in a good way.
What are some ways you improve your leadership skills?