Stop to think for a moment about anything that you do in your chosen occupation. For daily, routine matters that arise how do you handle them? You either know how to handle what comes up, or you know where you can get the information to handle it. Now, do you also have such an articulated, well-thought-out plan for your leadership development? If you don't no need to despair, you're not alone.
The idea of giving as much thought to your leadership development as you give to your daily, routine activities is something that many overlook. Simple observation tells us that routine activities in our job or profession take up the majority of our time. Yet, what has a much greater impact on our advancement, and the rest of our lives for that matter, is our ability to understand as much about leadership as possible. Not only our own leadership ability, but that of those around us.
In our latest book, The Pilot -- Learning Leadership, we talk about the path to leadership and what must be accomplished along the way. In fact, we use up around 50,000 words to illustrate it in a story and then with discussions of practical applications. But, for the purposes of this article, I'll address the global, high-altitude view.
Leaders are made not born. That's a basic assumption that has been proven by example after example. So, since this is the case, a natural question to pose is "how does someone become a leader?" After studying leadership for decades in various environments, it's crystal clear that there are a few pre-requisites. The first is something we call Mastery of Performance. Simply put, a leader must have the ability to attain mastery. Indeed, if you examine leaders throughout history, you'll usually find they have figured out how to be really good at a number of things. Sometimes, they are launched into leadership position simply because they have achieved mastery in some area, and that is almost always a mistake, because there are other vital components that must be included. One of those other vitals components is the ability to be a great follower. You can't be a good leader until you are a great follower. What is so important about understanding followership? To be continued . . .