This past week, the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was talking about the tradition of presidents having graduated from Ivy League universities.
She spoke eloquently about those presidents who did not matriculate at top-tier colleges:
Whether people agreed or disagreed with these presidents’ policies, she said, they all accomplished great things, usually from humble beginnings. President-Elect Joe Biden falls into this educational category, having graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School.
Even though these men were not necessarily brilliant in school, she reminded, they were lifelong learners.
They learned from people.
They were always open to new learning.
They were always asking questions. They always listened for the answers.
They were always particularly attentive when people disagreed with them.
As a leader, are you a lifelong learner?
Our fields are always evolving, so we must evolve as well. How are you adjusting to the developments in your chosen profession and your areas of interest? Who are your “go-to” sources of knowledge? Where do you search for proficiency at new skills?
-Blogs and newsletters
-Books and journals
-Book clubs and discussion groups
-TedTalks and other online lectures
There are a plethora of resources available to us in 2021 through which we can continue our leadership learning. Unfortunately, some leaders pause or stop on this lifelong learning journey.
They consider themselves “experts.” They arrive at a point where they believe they have mastered their jobs. This is a dangerous juncture. Why?
When we consider ourselves experts, that is when we stop learning.
So as you move forward on your unique leadership path, check your self-paradigm. Do you regard yourself as an expert? Do you “know it all?” I hope not.
Keep learning. Share your learning with others. The brain is a beautiful organ.
We can keep creating new neural pathways. Remember that learning starts when we are toddlers and, if we maintain the proper attitude, it never ends.