Leading others can be exhilarating or, frankly, exhausting. Same goes for learning. Our collective brains are a bundle of nervous twitches. We juggle gazillions of bits of information and data without even thinking about it. How could we possibly not be learning in this day and age?
We are learning, no doubt. But our learning has taken on a “just-in-time” quality to it. Pressed for time, up against the wall, we download and master the latest mobile app, adjust to the presence of the office gossip, and read a Tweet that sparks a moment of insight, before its meaning fades from from our conscious, like a battery drained over time.
Learning to lead ourselves and to inspire, influence and guide others is fundamentally different. This type of learning adheres to deeply held core principles and values that play out in our professional and personal lives. Oddly, learning to lead is deeply introspective, yet much more extended and collaborative, more apt to share, more likely to surface and skim ideas across diverse ecosystems of people and organizations, causes and realities.
To begin the process of learning to lead, start with one area of application and deepen it. Learn about human nature. Learn about organizational culture. Learn about what Jim Collins, best selling author of Built to Last and Good to Great, dubs as fanatical discipline. Purposeful learning demands discipline in times of uncertainty, chaos and complexity.
Leaders are in short supply these day. Organizations, communities, and nations are feeling the effects of the new normal—leaders who cannot lead. The only way to reverse that trend is to lead. And to lead, we must make and stick to our commitment to learn, the kind of learning that changes us and transforms the world for the better.