Everyone Can Teach You Something, If You Just Watch How They Carry Themselves
Free lessons in leadership exist in the everyday. They’re everywhere; you just need (and want) to look around and take stock of them.
Again, leadership exists everywhere and not just in those who have official titles or positions of “leadership” such as management. So look to the actions of those around you whose actions and demeanor work in tandem to develop, influence, encourage, build, and foster growth and value.
You should keep a lookout for these everyday lessons because leadership is a work-in-progress. It is something that needs refinement, growth, and development. Although there are training programs, certifications, and other educational formats for leadership development, the best lessons can be culled from everyday real-life interactions.
“…maybe we haven’t realized how much we’ve actually learned by watching.”
To some extent we’ve all learned by watching. And maybe we haven’t realized how much we’ve actually learned by watching. So although we might have learned some of these subtle lessons up until now more or less subconsciously through happenstance, here we’re instead talking about making a concerted and conscious effort to look around and analyze what we see—what works and what doesn’t.
Looking around at our world, both in the workplace and in the personal life, provides lessons for growth. It’s a matter of debriefing, aiming to understand what we see, what has worked and what hasn’t.
So looking around delivers two goals: it helps us learn new behaviors by watching others and, second, it sharpens that analysis. These are lessons that help us work toward better leadership in many ways, and continuing improvement once we “get there.” To some, “getting there” means reaching a titled position or position of power. As we know, we don’t need to wait until we get a title to refine and demonstrate our leadership skills. So, in the meantime, look around at others, objectively, and see what it is that makes other people wrong or right; a leader or not; and admirable or not, among other things.
“…make sure you don’t repeat the mistakes you have witnessed.”
See what others do in the environment that impacts the stakeholders, including yourself, for the better and keep that in mind as you work forward, reconciling it to what you do and how you can improve in comparison. Too often we move at a break-neck speed without understanding what our actions deliver.
By taking stock we can now see what the positive and negative ripple effects are that spread throughout the stakeholders and environment based on actions by its own parties. And as you make your way up the ladder, remember what you saw as you were making your way up through the lower rungs.
Consider what the things are which you see which you think are productive and positive versus those that are counterproductive and negative.
So, by watching the other players, your goal is two-fold: (1) Be able to sort through your environment to find those attributes and (2) Make sure that you do not carry out this exercise in vein by making sure you don’t repeat the mistakes you have witnessed.
So…What About You?
- How do you pay attention to, and what do you learn from, monitoring your environment?
- How has that attentiveness and awareness benefitted you?
- Can you think of examples you’ve witnessed where someone didn’t heed the available examples that played out in front of them and what the negative consequences might have been?