Our last leadership class discussion started me thinking about the time necessary to become a better leader. In my experience of teaching leadership principles and behaviors, it has very quickly became evident to me that the answer to “how long does it take to be a better leader?” is “all your life.”
When I get asked to do leadership presentations most of the time the request comes with comments and questions such as; “we only have 45 minutes; how long is your presentation?” or “we are really interested in creating better leaders so we have allotted 2 hours in our program to accomplish this. Can you do your presentation in two hours?”
All of the people who contact me for presentations are well intended, motivated people who are interested in providing a way for those in the organization to become better leaders. I welcome these opportunities to present leadership topics, but right from the beginning of my presentations I make it clear that what I say will not make them better leaders or even motivate them to be better leaders. I tell them the best I can do in a short period of time is maybe, just maybe, inspire someone to motivate themselves to start the process of becoming a better leader.
Remember “CliffsNotes?” I hadn’t really thought about them until now. They are still around and are advertised as study guides. However, when I was in college and you hadn’t really studied the material for a course with a test looming the next day, you got a “CliffsNotes” book and used it to cram. Of course now you can get an app and download them to your mobile device. So apparently not only do some people not have time to study a subject, they don’t even have time to stay in one place and use a short-cut method to learning. They even have a CliffsNotes version entitled “Leadership and Management.” So if you want the easy way to leadership, just read it.
It was Abraham Lincoln who said; “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today then he was yesterday.” This should give us a big clue that as leaders we should be learning something every day.
Dr. John Maxwell in the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” says “Leadership develops daily, not in a day.” This tells us we need a daily leadership lesson plan so every day we become a little wiser as Lincoln wants us to do.
Do you want to be a better leader? Do you have what it takes to devise a daily leadership learning plan? “It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from their followers.” Warren Bennis & Bert Nanus
So, have you assessed yourself and know your leadership strengths and weaknesses? Have you developed a plan that will allow you to improve your strengths and gather a team around you to cover your weaknesses? Or are you in the drive-thru line and just trying to be a McLeader?