Henry Ford famously said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
As a leader, you know how important learning is to stay ahead of the game. You’ve got to be up on the latest trends, best-practices, and industry changes. In Henry Ford’s vernacular, you’ve got to stay young.
But how’s your learning curve about a much more sensitive subject: you as a leader?
Are you constantly sharpening your leadership and decision-making? Or have you prematurely aged into sameness by surrounding yourself with people who are inclined to agree with you. (You might even call that ‘alignment.’)
Check your level of willingness to engage in this kind of learning by answering these questions:
- Do you seek advice from others for guidance (before making important decisions) or for solutions (as a consequence of decisions that didn’t work out as you planned)?
- Do you have one or more people—who aren’t impressed by you—with whom you can review important decisions in your life?
- When seeking outside counsel, are you more often telling or genuinely inquiring? In other words, are you likely to change your course of action based on their input?
- Do you give thoughtful evaluation to advice you don’t like, or do you quickly dismiss it?
- Do you take responsibility and corrective action when others inform you of a faulty decision you’ve made? Does your team feel the freedom to confront you?
- Do you consider how a decision might affect the character qualities you desire for yourself?
- Do you get input from others who may not have expertise in the topic but could provide input on other dynamics (business, spiritual, relational, etc.)?
- Are those who advise you likely to ever confront you, or are they less likely to risk their friendship with you?
- Do you make it easy for others to tell you their honest opinion? Have you asked them for it?
While great leaders know they don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, there’s one area they’ll push themselves to be smarter than anyone else—their own leadership. Don’t let yourself get old as a leader. Instead, be a great one.
Comment below: What other questions should be added to that list?