Leadership Development and Self Learning

The word leadership conjures up visions of one man or woman leading a group of people – it may be on a large scale or a small one, but the concept is the same. We associate the word leader with charisma, charm, authority and persuasion – in any sphere, a leader is someone who is not necessarily popular but who manages to hold sway all the same. Some people are naturally born leaders in that they assume the mantle and take the reins when they see a group floundering without direction. Others have leadership thrust on them, either because of their genes or because they are in the right place at the right time, and for this kind of leader, their success depends on how good they are at managing the responsibility that has been forced on them. And yet others are forced to develop their leadership skills and learn how to be effective leaders for professional reasons.

Leadership involves much more than focusing on guiding others and using them to achieve the goal of your organization or group. In fact, one little-known but very important facet of leadership is self-learning or personal development. Your success as a leader depends largely on how much you know, how efficiently and effectively you use this knowledge, and how determined and dedicated you are to improving on and enhancing what you know. Many leaders fall by the wayside and are relegated to the realms of obscurity because they’re too arrogant and think they already know everything or because they’re too lazy to pursue knowledge and update what they know.

We live in a world that is rapidly changing by the second, and if you don’t keep up, you’re definitely going to be left behind. And when you’re a leader who doesn’t improve by the second through self-learning and personal development, you find it harder to hold on to your mantle and face the threat of being usurped by others who are not only ambitious but also savvy enough to pursue knowledge and try to keep up with it.

Another facet of self learning as a leader is that the knowledge has to be relevant to your chosen field; while it’s ok to be a jack of all trades, it’s imperative that you’re a master in the one you’ve chosen as your livelihood or passion. Specialized knowledge is often more difficult to learn and keep up with and also involves much more of an effort. But if you keep at it constantly, it becomes second nature to you and easier as you go along.

To put it in a nutshell, self-learning is the platform on which leadership rests, and when you fail to bolster this platform and augment its strength as time goes by, you risk falling off your mantle and being relegated to second best or even less.