It was back in the early 1960’s when John F Kennedy said:

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

I have been delivering leadership training and leadership talks for many years and the more I read about leadership, talk about leadership and think about leadership, the more I realise I don’t know about leadership.

There is no such thing as instant leadership. Leadership is like a plant. It needs nourished and watered and fed to help it to grow. The best leaders recognise that to grow as a leader you must have a thirst for new knowledge, new concepts and new ways of working.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, captured this thinking brilliantly in his book Winning, when he said:

Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself;
When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

Your success is our goal hand drawing on blackboard

Your success is our goal hand-written in chalk on a blackboard

We are always growing – as a human being, as a colleague, as a parent. But the moment we become a leader in the workplace, everything changes. Success is no longer just about personal growth. It is also about growing others because the essence of true leadership is to see leadership potential in others and turn this potential into ability. The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.

For this to happen we must be role models for learning.

Rosabeth Moss Kantor said:

Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.

The most powerful form of teaching is to lead by example. Recent history teaches us that we must embrace and learn the new skills of today’s fast-paced, data-rich world if we are not to be left behind. To be left behind is to become a follower rather than a leader. Think Blackberry.

Here’s a simple thought – to earn more you must learn more. The salary you receive from your employer will be determined by the value you add. The more you know the more valuable you become.

Some years ago I received this piece of advice from a mentor. She told me:

“JJ, be so knowledgeable, competent and brilliant at what you do, t