How Do You Learn to Lead?

Shawnee Love   •   April 16, 2021

One of the many benefits of being in my field is you get to meet so many people. As someone fascinated by the stories of how people get to where they are and where they hope to go in the future, I have heard a lot of stories about becoming a leader.

Common answers to “how did you learn to lead?” are: “From a mentor”. Or the equally common opposite answer, “From watching bad bosses and learning what not to do!”

Trial and error comes up a lot with the confession about numerous mistakes along the way.  Some read books and admit to practicing or participating in peer learning groups such as the ones offered by their professional associations, or leadership forums such as those offered by TEC, McKay, EO or YPO.

Rarely have I heard someone credit their leadership to a single course or program.

Learning to be a leader, like riding a bike, swimming, learning a new language, etc., you learn by doing. Yes, you can learn the basics from books, classes, and watching others, but you have to get out of your chair and go talk to people, make decisions, see what works and what doesn’t and try again.

That’s why I think the best leaders I have met are always “learning” how to be a good leader.

Being a leader means you are never a finished product.

How did you learn to be a leader? What are you doing now to be a leader? And how are you supporting the growth of your future leaders?