In the book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, John Maxwell notes that “becoming a good leader is a lot like investing successfully in the stock market. If your hope is to make a fortune in a day, you’re not going to be successful.” As I was preparing for an upcoming presentation on this book, I read this line and knew that I had to write about it in this week’s blog. I know we would all like to become great leaders overnight, but the truth is, becoming a great leader is a journey.
Earlier this year, while listening to John speak, he was talking about how at age 70, he is continuing to learn and develop his leadership skills. John Maxwell is noted to be the leading expert on leadership in the world. No one has written as many books as him. He’s been practicing leadership for over 50 years, and yet, he is still learning. This was truly inspirational.
Many of us think we have gotten to the peak of our leadership. Maybe we’ve gotten the position that we have always wanted. But, a title does not make a leader. Getting a title gives you an opportunity to sink or swim, that’s it. A true leader will never reach the peak of their leadership. They will only keep learning and living out the leadership lessons they are learning about.
Becoming a great leader takes a lot of things. I know so many people that put aside their leadership learning journey for many reasons. Some say they don’t have time, others don’t have the money, some don’t think it’s important right now and others don’t feel like they need to learn more about being a leader.
Here’s a moment for me to share just a little piece of my story. When I was very young, I was a terrible leader. I thought because I had a title, that was it. I was there! I was a leader! Boy, was I wrong. All I thought about was myself. I failed as a leader early in my career and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I’m lucky that I was surrounded by positive leaders to model and bad leaders to learn from as well. I’m also lucky that I have had a hunger to become a better leader. Since I became aware that I was a bad leader, I have set out to learn everything I could about leadership. Over the past 20 years, I have worked hard to grow in my leadership.
My growth as a leader has been a hard road. I had to make the commitment of time, money and energy. To anyone who says they don’t have time to work on becoming a better leader, you must not want to be a better leader. When I completed my three-year Master’s program in Organizational Leadership, I was working a full-time job that consumed on average, 50 to 60 hours a week. I did this program in one year. I was committed to learning about leadership. I’ve invested in personal growth programs, leadership programs and other seminars that I didn’t have the money for at the time. I’ve invested in becoming a Certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker with the John Maxwell Team. Although I've learned more than I could ever imagine, I am not done learning. I will never be done learning. I will be learning until the day I die.
What are you doing to become a better leader? Are you someone who thinks you have nothing to learn, no time to learn, no money to learn? Becoming a great leader is a process that takes time and money. If you want to become a better leader, I urge you to look at your priorities and figure out how you can find the time, motivation and the money to invest in yourself! Your return on investment will be far more than the time, energy and money you spend trying to become better.