Every once in awhile, I find myself entering what I regard as my learning danger zone. It’s when I realize I’m writing more than I’m reading. Upon my return from a recent vacation in Europe, I decided to rectify that by diving in to Jim Kouzes’ and Barry Posner’s latest book Learning Leadership. As I expected, I’m extremely glad I did. Building on decades of research and their previous books The Leadership Challenge (now in its fifth edition) and Encouraging the Heart, among others, Kouzes and Posner suggest that leadership rests inside all of us. We are all capable of being leaders and the world needs us now more than ever. All we have to do is be willing to try and dedicated enough to bring our leadership talents forward.
The focus of this book is about learning how to learn. The best leaders are learning leaders. Their five learning leadership fundamentals include:
- Believe you can
- Aspire to excel
- Challenge yourself
- Engage support
- Practice deliberately
In a world where we’re bombarded with leadership tips and quotes, Learning Leadership challenges us to dig deeper. It starts with believing in yourself. The authors shared a Native American parable, that struck a chord with me, and I’d like to share it with you:
One evening, an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace. love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”
So if you feed the good, aspire to excel, and you’re willing to challenge yourself, then enlisting the support of others and engaging in the daily practice (the daily “doing”) of leadership is what it will take to be your best leadership self.
Best of all, the authors provide self coaching advice throughout the book that will help you successfully navigate this lifelong journey. One suggestion is keeping a daily journal. If I did that, maybe it would keep me out of slipping into my learning danger zone. I look forward to trying it. Order your copy today! You’ll be glad you did!