This weekend I got to see a good friend of mine who I haven’t seen for a few years. He is a keen golfer and regularly heads to the golf course first thing to strike a few balls before the day gets going. I have played golf, but I am not very good at it because I don’t play often enough. I do understand that if I want to improve my game, I need to play with golfers who are better than me. Why? Because you become like the company you keep. My game improved when I played with those better and more successful at golf than me.
It is not just true of golf. If you want to grow in your leadership then you have to seek out those who are better at it than you. Those who are further ahead in the leadership journey, who have the experience and smarts that you don’t yet have. As you know from last week’s blog, I recently spent time with the John Maxwell Team and although it was just three short days my thinking was completely changed.
All of us have a limited number of hours in the day. And within those hours you want to be the best that you can be in what you do. Too often the temptation is to go it alone and try and figure it out as you go along. That is one way. However, the smart thing to do if you want to be successful as a leader is to look around you and spend time with those you know are successful. Most leaders I know are always willing to spend time with someone who wants to grow and get better.
Who should you spend your time with?
“…I discovered that great men were willing to share their ideas. And I was learning so much. You can learn only if others are ahead of you.”
― John Maxwell
Tips on Keeping Great Company:
- Seek out those in your organisation who are further ahead in their leadership journey and look to spend time with them.
- Think about what areas you want to grow in and look for leaders who can help you.
- Be humble.
- If you can’t always find leaders to keep company, then read books they have written you will find many mentors in those pages.*
- Be teachable – the older I get the more I realise I don’t know. Keep asking questions – there is always an answer to the problem you have.
- Try to maintain a beginner’s mindset – to do this keep the following in mind:
- Everyone has something to teach me
- Every day I have something to learn
- Every time I learn something I benefit
- Finally look for other leaders you can invest in for their growth. You will learn as you teach others.
Whatever it is you want to become better at, look for those who are where you want to be and spend more time with them. You will be surprised at what you learn and how much you change.
*Challenge yourself by reading things you don’t agree with; spend time with people who have a different point of view to you. These teach you how to be agile and flexible so you can adapt to the many changes that are coming through organisations today.
Finally, make sure you spend time with those who lift you rather than those who tear you down.