A month into accepting the job as editor, I’m recognizing now more than ever that leadership is learning. Not a one-seminar-and-done type learning but more of a lifelong, always striving-type learning.
The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Sheridan County class requires students of the class to read the first five chapters of “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” before embarking on an eight-hour orientation and retreat with newly-introduced classmates.
Along with the chapters, leadership class instructors ask that each student complete workbook homework that coincides with each chapter of the book.
I’m a huge fan of all things get to know you, from kitschy Buzzfeed quizzes to fairly accurate personality tests, which we also had to complete for the class. This workbook, however, challenges and digs in a way that requires careful thought and intentional steps forward in one’s leadership journey. John C. Maxwell provides tips, challenges and insights in the book and workbook.
The Law of Process
“Leadership develops daily, not in a day.”
There’s a certain confidence after someone entrusts you with a position. With that trust comes a large dose of humility.
While mastering a job quickly may seem ideal, Maxwell encourages aspiring leaders to create a game plan and work on it a little bit each day.
“If you want to be a leader, the good news is that you can do it,” Maxwell writes. “Everyone has the potential, but it isn’t accomplished overnight. It requires perseverance. And you absolutely cannot ignore the Law of Process. Leadership doesn’t develop in a day. It takes a lifetime.”
While the terrifying thought of never reaching perfection may paralyze, it can also be an encouragement to know that nobody ever reaches perfection. It’s a process.
Leaders are learners
Similar to the process, leaders must slowly chip away at acquiring knowledge they don’t yet have. What I’m finding to be a fun and fascinating process — and one I admittedly didn’t think I needed as much work on — is getting to know my team. Learning to invest time into each person is a work in progress and takes more than the 40-hour work week to accomplish.
The time spent ensuring the paper is edited and printed is the essential part of the job.
Learning how to best support, encourage and motivate a group of people is equally as important. The former may become second nature after time and experience, but one can always learn more about a person.
Leadership is influence
“Leadership is influence — nothing more, nothing less.”
Without followers, one cannot be a leader. Leaders must establish themselves as such, which requires, in my opinion, a careful combination of service and authority.
“He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk,” Maxwell wrote, quoting a leadership proverb.
I’m excited for the opportunity to grow my leadership skills with other Sheridanites throughout the year, but I’m also preparing for the lifelong journey of learning ahead.