It’s summer, the sun’s shining (we hope!) and it’s time for another chat with Craig. Today, we’re delving into how being a passionate, committed leader can inspire others around you.
Q. What do you mean Craig by the mantra ‘live, learn, lead’?
It’s an old statement that you only get one life, and unless someone has invented an ability to time travel, you only live an exact experience once as everything that follows or comes before is slightly different. Where possible we should choose to live every single moment as if it’s our last moment. I know we hear this all the time but take it a stage further. If it’s a journey to work, a coffee with a friend/work colleague, or a conversation with your children just reflect, pause and ask yourself ‘What have I learnt from that?’ You may learn something which improves your self-awareness.
We will definitely learn from others if we choose to see it that way. Our overarching mindset should be one of passionate curiosity… looking for ways to be delighted by others in whatever they’re doing and learning from it. If we continue to be passionate and curious in our role as leaders; these learning interventions we have every day, in the most mundane of circumstances, can become our stories. The ones that help us be effective leaders and support us in helping others to learn.
A few years ago, I was watching my stepdaughter play with her friends on their scooters and noticed the way she not only encouraged others to go to faster (which I didn’t necessarily agree with!) but also how she was able to influence them by recognising how differently influenced they were. One of her friends was influenced by being the quickest of the bunch, one was influenced by trying something they’d not tried before and the third was influenced simply by ‘we’re all having a go, wouldn’t you like to join in?’ It helped me remember that genuine leaders exist without a badge or authority.
I often share this story in the workplace when helping other people recognise that leadership isn’t defined by a symbol, a title or a structure. Being a leader exists in our own hearts and minds because we choose to behave in a certain way, to help others accomplish stuff they’re not achieved before and exceed their own expectations.
‘Live, learn, lead’ is a mantra that people will talk about, but I’m passionately curious about how many of us choose to be daring and live this every day of our lives.
Q. How do you stay fully focused on your job as a leader?
If we’re constantly interested and looking for opportunities to learn from every situation, the next step is to self-coach and ask ourselves; ‘How can I use this? Who else can benefit from my learning? What impact can I have and am I having on others?’
Q. When you’ve been a leader for a while how do you stop the boredom setting in and remain curious to learn new stuff?
If you’re a truly passionate, authentic leader you’ll see learning as the differential between you and other leaders. You will naturally, constantly seek ways to improve even if they’re tiny incremental shifts. This means you never get bored because your mindset chooses to see growth and possibility.
Q. How can you embed this positive mindset within your teams and your people?
By helping people understand that learning isn’t about a training course. Learning is about every interaction in the world around us. It’s about the curious, growth mindset we choose and being excited about what you could possibly learn today. Alternatively, people should read this blog!!
I appreciate this sounds very evangelical but I don’t think it is. I fundamentally believe that if we choose to learn from self-awareness, help others and analyse our impact on other people we’ll become more authentic leaders. Admittedly some people may need a little bit more help than an evangelical, happy-clappy, tree-hugging blog, so I urge them to phone me.
Q. What techniques do you employ to keep this fresh?
It’s not about techniques, it’s about having a growth mindset and asking myself questions:
• what am I thinking or feeling?
• how is this helping me look at situations that haven’t gone to plan?
• what do I need to do?
• what feedback do I need to ask for?
• how can I to learn from what others have observed and I’ve missed?
I remind myself that every day I’m a little bit closer to being the best version of myself. If you’re daring and want to talk about this just ask me.
Immensely thought-provoking advice Craig, thank you. As a leader what advice can you share with us?