Friday, October 30, 2020

Lean Quote: Great Leaders are Always Learning

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"The distance between number one and number two is always a constant. If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself and the organization gets pulled up with you.  — Indra Nooyi, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo

True leaders are never satisfied with what they know about their leadership and are always in pursuit of new learning. That means constantly seeking feedback, taking time for relevant learning and guidance, and looking for positive changes in the organization.

Great leaders make self-improvement a daily practice. Here are some of the ways they go about it—see what makes sense for you and try incorporating it into your daily routine. Your leadership and your life will benefit.

They assess themselves honestly. In order to improve, you need to know what needs improvement. Notice how you behave in different situations. Look at your behavior and attitudes objectively and you’ll know what to keep and what to leave behind. You can’t be a better person if you don’t know what you need.

They educate themselves continually. Unsurprisingly, many leaders are avid readers. There is so much to learn and so much to understand, and reading a book is like having the best teachers and the smartest mentors from throughout history on demand.

They welcome feedback approvingly. The best leaders understand that feedback is a gift, and they seek critique from trusted people who are able to get straight to the point. Direct feedback is the quickest way to learn how to improve.

They embrace change repeatedly. Great leaders always want to improve themselves, so they remain open to change. They know it’s hard to move forward if you aren’t willing to change. Cultivate your own willingness to change with thought, effort and intentionality.

They work toward their goals daily. The best leaders understand the power of consistently working toward a goal. If you can commit to one daily practice, make it this: do one small thing every day that will get you a little bit closer to where you want to go. Every time you accomplish a goal, you’ll learn more about yourself and figure out more ways of self-improvement.

They ask for support frequently. Top leaders know the benefits of having good counsel and smart advocates, and even the best leaders may have a coach. I know one of the things my clients value most in my coaching is simply having an impartial sounding board, giving them a chance to sort things out before they present their ideas.

They express appreciation regularly. Great leaders understand that gratitude is the basis of self-improvement. They know that if you can be thankful and appreciate what you have instead of obsessing over what you wish you had, you can focus on making yourself better and expressing your thanks to the people around you.

Organizations with strong leaders experience better overall organizational performance, including high levels of customer satisfaction, organizational productivity, financial gains, and product quality. Effective leadership also has a positive impact on employee retention, performance, engagement, and morale.

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