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Leaders Are Learners

Say it with us, “Leaders are learners.” Now say it with us for the people in the back, “LEADERS ARE LEARNERS.” Guys, we can’t make it any clearer, yet when was the last time you picked up a book, ANY book?

No matter how much time goes by, it still amazes us how in today's competitive environment, men, especially men in leadership positions, are not continuing their education or self-edification. With the global economy getting smaller and the pace of technology getting faster, and the scope of leadership getting more significant, how can you possibly believe that the training and education you've received to date can possibly be enough to make you relevant in the future?

Mark Cuban, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, I can go on and on with names of successful men, and you will find that all of them make reading and learning a priority. So why do these men, who have carved out a piece of the universe for themselves, have nothing to prove to anyone, can coast for the rest of their lives and still write a check that makes the bank bounce, still make learning a priority?

Americans read fewer and fewer books each year. Last year, a National Endowment for the Arts survey found that only 43% of U.S. adults read any type of literature not required for work or school. Time can't possibly be the obstacle to reading because the aforementioned men certainly don't have the luxury of downtime, and they still operate within the 24-hour block of time afforded to the rest of the world. So what's your excuse?

What you learn or how you learn it it's not important—provided that you're consistent and you find the content relevant and interesting. For example, if you're looking to start a business and don’t have training or education in finance, then I don't recommend learning about Establishing an ESOP plan. Perhaps you want to start with learning the fundamentals of starting a business, from the legal formation to finance and funding, and maybe even digital marketing to get your name out on the street. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position where you can hire people or are entrusted to lead people, then learning leadership skills and negotiating skills are critically important to your success.

If you're new in the workplace as a recent graduate or freshly minted MBA, then your education was only the primer for what you're going to face. You're going to be working with individuals who have decades of experience under their belt. There's no way that you can compete with that. Sure, you might have some new fresh ideas, but there are nuance and details that you didn't learn in the classroom. When you capitalize on learning and the lessons of others and put them to work, you're able the shortcut the common constraint of “years of experience” and accelerate your growth without wasting the time others have wasted.

And most importantly, you have to set the tone for yourself, as a man, and even those men around you. As a man, you should be agile in your response to an ever-changing world. It is incumbent upon you to be informed in news, politics, business, finance, and global events. Your education can come in many forms, whether it's organic, formalized, personalized, or on-demand. However you do it, it needs to be a commitment to improving personally and professionally. Part of that commitment for men to be Learners is being comfortable with vulnerability. As a man, you don't have to have all the answers. However, being able to admit that you don't know with confidence makes you more of an authentic man.

Learning also makes you resilient. Research has shown that people with a growth mindset are better at dealing with change, solving problems, successfully implementing and giving feedback, and accomplishing goals. Men who are continuously scanning for change and comfortable reacting to what they learn tend to be much more prepared to act accordingly in times of crisis. If the past year has taught us anything, it's that we need to be ready to adapt. Men who are committed to lifelong learning will be more able to identify the need for change when it arises.

Learning also shouldn't be an echo chamber. You want to allow yourself to change your mind. in today's divisive climate, You should afford yourself the opportunity to study the other side of the argument. If for one of two reasons; 1) to see what the hell the other side is talking about, or 2) to study their speaking and argument points so that you're better informed and prepared for debate should the occasion ever arise.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

~Sun Tzu

Lastly, learning can help improve your relationships. I find that learning leadership skills Will show you the value of relationships since all relationships involve given take, negotiation, Conflict Management, listening, understanding, and so on. These areas are what leadership covers. Developing skills in those areas, even in just one area of your life like work, help you with relationships in all other areas, including friends, family, colleagues, classmates, neighbors, significant others, and so on.

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