How To Keep Yourself UPloaded
“I know Kung Fu!” – The Matrix
A good leader needs to keep themselves refreshed and educated.
To often, we get too busy to learn, or think that we know enough to navigate the challenges of the day. It takes time to read a leadership book, peruse blogs and articles, and listen to podcasts or audio books.
But in order to stay fresh, relevant, and creative, you need to find the time and methods to UPload solid leadership information into your mindset.
Here are the “ways and means” to stay plugged in and UPloading good leadership thinking:
- Know that you don’t know it all. Two separate independent studies concluded why many executives fail. On thing both studies had in common was these leaders “Think They Had All The Answers“. Great leaders need to seek answers in every place, and not in and of themselves.
- Discern what great and poor leadership advice is out there. There are plenty of people promoting ideas from breaking rules to being a dictator. Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership posted a blog that tells which bad advice to stay away from. Many people will discard solid leadership principles. Good leadership advice must be defended, discerned, and devoured by those who will apply it properly.
- Know what the leadership buffet offers. Leadership books abound’ Some are good long reads, others are great short books. Blogs are all over, just search for leadership blogs such as Alltop’s Top Leadership. Follow people on Twitter and LinkedIn for some terrific leadership (#leadership) content. Listen to audio books such as you can get from Audible. Download podcasts. Watch Youtube videos on leadership. Attend seminars or watch documentaries and biographies on your TV or online. There are many other avenues to gain leadership insight, it’s not hard to find them.
- Set goals and identify what you want to learn. I have my daily routine of blog reading, and a weekly routine of hearing podcasts and reading books. I set goals for myself, number of chapters, the amount of podcasts, to keep me on track with my learning. Find what you want to use, then set a modest and attainable goal for yourself in short intervals to keep you motivated.
- Chip away at it. You don’t have to read an entire chapter in one sitting, divide it up over two periods of down time. Waiting before a meeting or a doctor appointment is a great time to do this. Have only 2-3 minutes? Great time to savor a blog. Driving to work for 25 minutes? The world will go on without you hearing then news, plug in an audio book or podcast. Leverage the time you have a a greater purpose.
- Write notes. While I don’t recommend this for driving, it’s great to jot down notes (I use and index card and filing box). When you do this, inevitably you’ll have a time down the road a thought will occur and it’s a quick reference point for what you read. It also helps ingrain your reading into your thinking as well. You can do this on a recorder or your smartphone microphone to record voice thoughts as you listen in your car.
- Don’t be overwhelmed. There’s a lot, we know. But start small, just pick some time to do consistently every week. You’ll grow in your desire to, well, grow in your leadership.
- Make some sacrifices. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to learn. It may be watching less TV, or news. Maybe working less at night and refreshing yourself in learning. A sacrifices hurts only at first, but there is always a bigger benefit.
- Look for leadership lessons all around you. It’s called the “laboratory of life”. Take time to observe people interacting at work, in other places of business (even while you’re a patron), at play. You can learn as much from a first grader on the playground as you can the hardware store manager helping their team inventory the store.
Make it a point to stay UPloaded regularly. It’s an investment of time that you can’t afford to miss, because it pays dividends in a tremendous way. Spend the time wisely.
(Matrix image: matrix.wikia.com; Zig Ziglar image: goalsetting4.com)