Great Leaders Learn From Anywhere
As people we need a myriad of things in which to live and grow:
- Proper Temperature
And within these items we have multiple needs within them. Take foods for example, we need a balance of food to get the correct nutrients in our bodies to facilitate growth and health.
In our quest to grow as leaders, we often look to grow from a variety of sources: books, podcasts, networking, seminars … the list goes on.
Now think of the things you use to grow as a leader. How many of those resources that you consume are made from the things that you like?
Now consider the things that you don’t like, and ask yourself this:
Can you, or will you, seek them to learn from those you don’t think you can teach you anything?
Take for instance the teen that doesn’t like broccoli or avocado or fish. They are missing some vital nutrients that are still beneficial. Even if they don’t like it, they can still benefit from it.
So if we apply this to our leadership development, we can virtually always benefit on those things we don’t like, or don’t think are good for us. We just need to be willing to try, willing to see, willing to hear.
The story goes of how Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart and his team toured some of their competitor’s stores. These stores were poor in their merchandising, assortment, and their execution. The team tried to get Walton to leave, saying that there was nothing they could learn from. Walton then spotted something and stopped to point it out to his colleagues. Excited, he exclaimed “Hey, why aren’t we doing that?!” and just then, what looked like a waste of time became a key component of the burgeoning company’s retail execution.
I often read books from people whose philosophy on leadership (and life) are not in line with my core values. Sometimes I’ll plug into a podcast from someone who is prideful and coarse but know that I’m going to receive a gem of wisdom from them.
My most profound leadership lesson learned was from a teenager whom was shortly fired for theft when I was a young manager. While his job performance would normally lend one to believe that one could never learn anything from him, his profound statement by his father has stayed with me for many years, still to this day.
Learn from whatever sources you can but keep this vital thought in mind at all times:
Don’t discount the information just because the sources is not what you agree or are comfortable with.
That goes not only for the author, speaker, or presenter, but also the format, the background, and the belief system or core values that generates those ideas.
With an open mind to be able to listen and learn something positive from anyone – even those in direct opposition or viewpoint to you – you can gain an advantage of learning and growing that you otherwise might have shut out due to our preconceived notions.
Keep your eyes, ears, mind and heart open and keep learning and growing.