Tag Archives: Education

Leaders Learn

Leaders Learn

The title says it all.

One of the wisest men and most brilliant leaders I personally know on the face of planet, did not just gain his insight from sitting around. He told me his secret and I want to share it with you.

This man is, as of yesterday, 70-years-old. Last year alone traveled over 115,000 miles across the United States and around the world to places in Europe and Africa. These weren’t joy rides or vacations, these were philanthropic based trips. When I think of this man and the conversations I have had with him over the years walking through Barnes & Noble and sitting at Starbucks, I think of some of the following traits: humble, wise, caring, concerned, empathetic, slow-to-speak, knowledgeable, compassionate, well respected, a good listener, hard working, dilegent, an effective communicator, a motivator, a go-getter……and the list goes on and on.

These are all leadership traits that one day I hope people will be able to see in me. They are qualities vital to the success of a leader. One day, as I was sitting having a conversation with this man, I asked him his secret to successful leadership. Though everything he said was powerful, there was one thing that has recently struck a chord with me.

His secret: always be willing to learn and to be led.

This man would often send me books and articles that were relevant to my life and my interests. Whenever I talked with him he was always reading at least one or two books about leadership or productivity, communication, faith or life.

In addition to reading books, he told me that he was able to relate to people almost 50 years younger than himself because he constantly strived to be current. He would always be up on the news, politics and sports. He listens to podcasts and he attends conferences (if he is not already speaking at them) and he is always reading. He explained to me one day that as a leader if you’re not learning you grow stagnant. You may have a bit of natural leadership in your blood, but that only makes you a good leader. To be a great leader, you must be willing to be led by other great leaders. You have to realize your need to grow. Once you have humbled yourself and opened yourself enough to be willing to learn, you will be a successful leader.

This man is not only a leader, he is an avid learner. According to him you cannot be a leader without first being willing to learn and be humble enough to be led by others experiences. This incredible leader’s name is Don, but to me, he is Grandpa.

Build an Audience on Social Media

Build an Audience

The movie industry astounds me. It is incredible that people will line up hours and hours before a new release, dressed up in ridiculous costumes and fighting people in lines all to watch the next movie in their favorite series or see their favorite actor or director’s work. Apple is right behind them. I mean people will camp out for a week in front of an Apple store to get the newest iPhone or MacBook.

What if you could have that same power? What if people waited to hear what YOU had to say? What if people were actively engaged and interacted with you online? What if…

Lots of “what-ifs,” but essentially, building an audience so that people will line up to read your blog articles or anxiously wait to see what you have to say on Twitter is the crux of social media. So many people spend countless hours on social media trying to build an audience but fall miserably short. You have to ask yourself, Why am I worth listening to? and What is it that makes my current listerners become engaged audience members? Here are four quick tips on building a solid following:

  • Teach: One of the main reasons people begin to develop their online presence is to sell a service or their product. That’s great, but that is what advertising is for. Before you can even begin to try and get someone to buy what your selling, you must first teach them and draw them in. Throw out little bits of knowledge that wet your audiences appetite. Once they realize you’re content is solid, they will want more of it. Ultimately, they will be willing to buy from you. So start off with teaching.
  • Reach: A lot of bloggers I talk to complain about people not retweeting their articles and not commenting on their posts. This is a common issue for new bloggers. Reach out to people. Write on their blogs, follow them on Twitter and interact with the online. Chances are they will return the favor.
  • Listen: We all think our own ideas are great ideas. For bloggers, we think our ideas are just so good that we write them out for the world to see. There is not a problem with that, however, are we need to step back and ask ourselves, are we just spewing out word vomit to make ourselves feel better or is our message tailored to what our audience is listening to? Solicit your readers’ feedback. Listen to what they have to say. There is always room for improvement. Maybe you can improve the way you write, the length of your posts, the topics, your titles, your verbage, the frequency of your posts, etc. Be willing to listen.
  • Learn: Listening and learning and closely correlated. We all have ears that can hear and listen to what people say, but the true test of learning is taking what we’ve heard and putting it into action. You should also actively be reading similar blogs and following similar people to hear what they’re talking about. Don’t copy them, but use them as a guide to make sure you’re relevant in your industry. Learn from them. They are leaders in your industry for a reason.

Educate Your Boss

It can often be awkward and even embarrassing when your supervisor makes a painfully obvious mistake in front of a client. Though you pick up on the mistake, you may feel intimidated in letting your boss know that something he or she said wasn’t correct.

I recently wrote an email to several people on my creative team, more specifically my web team. My intention was to send out a succinct email that was easy-to-read but accomplished a lot. After proofing it, I sent it off. Within a few minutes I received an email back.

More or less, the gist of this email was telling me that I had used a technically term wrong–very wrong. Now let me be honest, I know very few technical terms when it comes to coding and web development. I barely squeak by. Apparently, what I wrote in the email meant something completely different in web-speak than what I actually wanted it to say. Fortunately, this member of my creative team had the courage to send me a tactfully written, well thought out email, letting me know that my word choice was not the best for this particular situation. Additionally, he went on to describe the proper terms to use in the future.

Some of you may be taken aback by the fact that someone would write an email that in essence says, “You’re wrong” to their boss. However, this team member knew that it was in my best interest to say the right thing instead of writing an email that seemed uneducated. In his email, he was careful to be respectful while helping me improve!

Everyone needs to learn, including the people at the very top! A good leader can educate, but an exceptional leader is educable. The person that sent me that instructional email stepped-up and helped me out! Don’t be afraid to respectfully educate your boss. In the end, he or she will probably be thankful!