What I loved about the book was how quick of a read it is. I finished it in one night. Perfect with a great cup of coffee, a small book but packed with great lessons.
First off, like many of his books, Great Leaders Grow is an easy to read business fable. This book hits on the subject that is important to every leader. How a leader grows and develops.
What exactly is a “Leader”? By definition, leaders are the influencers, the catalyst for change and the antithesis of the status quo. Nowadays, the word ‘leader’ gets tossed around so much that the actual definition becomes too narrow.
A Leader is not just a job title and definitely not the one that barks orders at the lower echelons. Not like your stereotypical “commissar” that doesn’t understand how his soldiers work. It’s not just a label or a promotion. It’s a living process – and life means growth. Successful leaders don’t rest on their laurels.
The capacity to grow determines the capacity to lead. If one stops growing, eventually, your leadership and your influence will decay.
If you were part of the Generation Y (1982 – 2002) also known as “Millennial”, there is this prevailing belief that derailed the growth of emerging leaders. Me, being part of the cohort, admit that being a leader can only come through experience and age, which is I think an endemic thought among millennials. It’s also worth to note that the world is experiencing a ‘spike’ of Millennials in the workforce. So, like the stigma, the younger me would find it ridiculous to take action to lead when you have a room full battle-hardened and seasoned subject matter experts.
In the book, I’ve learned that a leader was terminated after fourteen years of working with the same company. Because he wasn’t growing and learning, he was basically living in his first year of service for fourteen times. Time is the enemy here, and with it comes a new tide of thought.
The world moves too fast for the slow runners, if you’re in it for the long haul then it is folly to rely on the success of the past knowledge alone. Leaders must learn how to grow.
But, all hope is not yet lost. In this book, Blanchard and Miller present an antidote. A solution to the great shift of how the adults of TODAY view leadership.
So here’s how you can GROW:
1. You should learn. Digest everything too fast, you crash and burn. It’s a process, it takes time and should be systematic.
Reach out to others
2. You should be open to others. Reach out to your colleagues formally and informally. Grab some lunch with them, or ask how they’re doing.
Open your world
3. You open your world. If you let yourself get buried with work, your influence and leadership will stagnate and eventually evaporate.
Walk toward wisdom
4. You check yourself. Be it through self-evaluation, feedback or counsel from friends to colleagues.
A leader should also keep in mind that Ego and Fear are a wicked tandem that clouds decision and leadership. If you let “ego” win, it creates a sense of heightened confidence and pride. This, combined with fear of losing control, prevents a leader from serving and fulfilling their true nature.
Let me expound on this, its human nature to succumb to glory and let egos get the best of them. Often times, they credit themselves too much that it creates an impregnable barrier towards self-evaluation. If this happens, they stagnate and lose valuable feedback.
The very idea here is, from my point of view, the leader of today should be flexible, humble and has the thirst for self-improvement.
Blanchard and Miller asks, “will you be a leader who is always ready to face the next challenge, or will you be a leader that tries to apply yesterday’s solution to today’s problem?”
Which one are you?