The first of the four strategies that Ken Blanchard and I talk about in Great Leaders GROW is Gain Knowledge. This may seem like the most obvious thing you’ve heard recently – if you want to grow as a leader, you’ve got to gain knowledge – duh?
Well, hold on… it is obvious, but that doesn’t make it automatic or easy. We decided that it might be helpful for some leaders if we put handles on the idea - break it down, make it more specific.
We’ve outlined four arenas in which gaining knowledge is critically important as you and I attempt to expand our impact and our influence as leaders. Learn more about...
Your People – The best leaders connect with their people. Part of this connection is rooted in knowing them as individuals. It is reported that Alexander the Great knew the names and families of all his troops. While this may not be completely true, think of the impact if it were true. Think about your people - What are their hopes and dreams? What is their background? What do they want and need from you as their leader? The more we learn about our people, the better we will be able to lead them.
Your Business – How much do you know about your business? Not just your role, not just your department. How can you help solve the larger issues of the enterprise if you don’t understand the context? What is the history of your company? What are the plans for the next decade? Even if you don’t serve in a general management position, knowledge of your business will enhance your day-to-day leadership.
Your Industry – Who are your chief competitors? How has your industry changed in the last decade? How will it change in the next decade? Who has gone out of business and why? Who are the new players, and what is their strategy? What are the trends in your industry? More outsourcing? Downsizing? Only as you learn and understand these dynamics can you lead most effectively.
Leadership – You may think, “I’ve been leading a long time, why do I need to continually learn leadership?” That’s a fair question, but what if your doctor took that position? What if your tax accountant took that stance? We want the men and women who serve us to be current in their profession. Our people deserve leaders who are current in our field - leadership.
What’s your plan for Gaining Knowledge over the next 12 months?