“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” –Madeleine L’Engle Click to tweet
To celebrate my birthday a few years ago, I reflected on the beginning of my own leadership journey. Today, I want to share 7 lessons that have shaped and influenced my leadership over the last 20 years.
This week, I turn 40. I know I’m getting old, or at least starting to feel it, especially after I play basketball. Looking back, my first leadership role was as captain of my high school basketball team. I’ve been in leadership ever since, which marks this week as 20 plus years of leadership opportunities.
A few years ago, I decided to share the top 7 lessons I’ve learned in the last 20 plus years of leadership.
Lesson #1: Let Self-Awareness Be Your Guide
We all have strengths, weaknesses, and blind-spots. From what I’ve seen, most people magnify their strengths, avoid their weaknesses, and are unfamiliar with their blind spots. It’s hard to develop and mature as a person if you are either unaware or don’t fully grasp the depth of your strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots.
People with self-awareness understand and refine their strengths, lean into their weaknesses to compensate for them, and become painfully aware of their blind-spots so they don’t disqualify them from future leadership opportunities. Let self-awareness be your guide on your leadership journey.
Lesson #2: Invest More in People Than Tasks
In their famous book, “The One Minute Manager”, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson argue that the most important minutes a manager spends in the day are with their people. Investing in others yields a better return on our time than any other investment we can make. Remember, legacy is more defined by the people we have influenced that the projects we have completed.
Lesson #3: Greatness Begins with Humility
Humility isn’t thinking poorly of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. Humble people don’t demean their strengths or avoid praise. They recognize that everybody has strengths and their strengths are not better or more important that someone else’s. They are others-focused and think of others more than themselves. One thing I say to myself before having a conversation with someone else is “How can I add value to them today?” or “How can I encourage them in this conversation?”
These are just three of the top lessons I’ve learned over the last 20 years. Next session, I’ll share the remaining four lessons.
- As you reflect on your leadership journey, what are a few lessons you’ve learned? Write them down.
- Feel free to share your lessons in the comment section below.