In our just-released book Great Leaders Grow, Mark Miller and I explore how great leaders make the conscious choice of continuous personal growth. As we say in the book’s introduction: Growing for a leader is like oxygen to a deep-sea diver: without it, you die. Not a physical death, of course—but if you stop growing, your influence will surely erode and, ultimately, you may lose the opportunity to lead at all.
One way great leaders can grow is to gain knowledge. Gaining knowledge doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a long-term commitment you must make and then put into practice year after year.
Gaining knowledge generally comprises four elements. The first is self-knowledge. This is a matter of looking in the mirror and being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses as well as how your temperament and personality mesh with your environment. Great leaders have a high degree of self awareness. Assessment tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DiSC Profile, or Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 can help you understand what makes you tick as well as how to better relate to those around you.
Equally important is gaining knowledge of others. Spend time getting to know the folks around you at work. When you work on building relationships, you can go beyond the superficial to learn how people like to be recognized, how they prefer to communicate, who their families are, and what really matters to them. The more you know about your colleagues at every level, the more effective you can be in working with them to attain common goals.
Gaining knowledge includes learning about your industry. Read up on the history of your industry and do some research on what’s happening today. What’s true now that may not be true in the future? Also, take a closer look at your chief competitors. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Finally, gain knowledge about the field of leadership. Explore the profusion of books, blogs, and other information available about leadership to discover trends and best practices. Take a look at your current skill set and see what skills other leaders have that you might need to work on.
So, what will you do this week to grow through gaining knowledge? Leave a comment and let me know!