Great leaders are created via conscious, sustained work; they are not born. Leaders must approach their position as a practice in order to consistently advance and grow, much like doctors practice medicine or attorneys practice law. Over time, it is possible to polish and perfect a variety of talents, including the capacity to motivate and influence others, handle challenging circumstances, and produce outcomes. In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of viewing leadership as a practice, give examples of effective leaders, and present a step-by-step guide for using this tactic.
Why Treating Leadership as a Practice is Important
The practice of leadership is a lifelong endeavor. It is a continual and iterative process that necessitates a never-ending need for information and advancement. Great leaders never stop learning from books, other people, their supervisors, their teams, and their coworkers. Leaders may keep improving and staying at the top of their game by considering leading as a practice. The growth mentality that leaders need to adapt to shifting circumstances and guide their teams through times of change and uncertainty is fostered by this strategy as well.
Examples of Leaders Who Embrace a “Leadership as Practice” Mindset
The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., was a strong supporter of lifelong education. He was well known for having a voracious appetite for reading and frequently drew inspiration for his work from books. A quote from him once said, “I’m a big believer in reading and learning as much as I can, and I think that’s one of the reasons that we’ve been successful.” Similarly, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is renowned for devouring books at a startling rate. He set a goal for himself to read one book every two weeks and concentrate on learning new things in a 2015 Facebook post.
Roadmap for Treating Leadership as a Practice
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help leaders treat their time in leadership as a practice:
- Embrace a Growth Mindset: Leaders who see their leadership as a practice know that they can always learn and improve. They embrace a growth mindset and are open to new ideas and feedback.
- Set Learning Goals: Leaders should set learning goals and prioritize their learning. This can include reading books, attending training sessions, and seeking feedback from others.
- Read Widely: Leaders should make reading a habit and explore a wide range of topics, including business, psychology, and history. You can view my reading list with summaries here.
- Engage with Others: Leaders should seek out mentors, peers, and colleagues who can offer insights and perspectives that can help them grow.
- Practice Reflection: Leaders should take time to reflect on their leadership and assess their progress. Reflection can help leaders identify areas for improvement and develop new strategies.
The Benefits of Treating Leadership as a Practice
The abilities and traits that make great leaders, such as the capacity for effective communication, the capacity for inspiring others, and the capacity for problem-solving, can be developed by leaders by approaching leading as a practice. Additionally, this strategy enables leaders to maintain their composure and change with the times. A growth mentality, which is necessary for leaders to keep a positive view, accept change, and remain motivated, is promoted by approaching leadership as a practice.
Leaders who wish to consistently develop their talents and abilities must approach leading as a practice. Leaders can build the traits that make them excellent leaders by adopting a growth mindset, setting learning objectives, reading widely, interacting with people, and engaging in reflection exercises. As Steve Jobs famously put it, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Leaders can innovate and perform better in their positions by seeing leadership as a practice.
The most impactful leaders treat leadership as a practice, which involves continuously learning and improving skills. By embracing a growth mindset, setting learning goals, reading widely, engaging with others, and practicing reflection, leaders can develop the qualities that make them great leaders.
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