To be a long-term leader, you must by nature be a lifelong learner. That means you as a leader must be always out of your comfort zone and always ready to learn.
Book learning is important, but it’s not everything. Don’t get me wrong: I read a lot of books (especially business books and leadership books). It is important for you to read regularly and consistently. But that is not the only way to learn.
Lifelong learning is about having the right attitude for learning. Here’s how you can prepare your mind to be a lifelong learner—and a long-term leader.
1. Be humble
Humility is a key trait of a lifelong learner. To be a long-term leader, you must realize that it’s not about you. You are not the source of all wisdom, so don’t act as if you were.
You are a leader for the benefit of others, not for yourself. Therefore, you owe it to those around you to constantly be learning how to be better—and allowing those you lead to teach you as well.
If you are filled with yourself, then there is no room for anyone else in your life. Leaders must always be thinking of others. Remember: humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s about thinking of yourself less.
2. Be teachable
The ability to be teachable is a key trait of lifelong learners. To be a long-term leader, you must realize that you don’t know everything. It’s important that you look for teachable opportunities everywhere.
Failure is one of the greatest teachers you will ever have. Failure does not have to stop your forward momentum. But you must look at failure as a rest stop and not as a destination.
Leaders are not the ones who know everything. They are the ones who are always learning.
3. Be changeable
Being willing to change is the most important trait for lifelong learners. To be a long-term leader, you must be humble enough to put into practice what you have learned.
Change is uncomfortable. But it is necessary. All of life is about changing and adapting to change. That’s why you must be willing to change so you can help those around you navigate the change.
Resolve to be the kind of leader you would want to follow. That will involve change. But as a result of your willingness to change, you will become a long-term leader.