I have had the pleasure of living in Europe for 14 years and traveling around the world. Working with diverse people and organizations has given me I think a very unique way of looking at my own leadership and how I view certain situations. Taking advice from Stephen Covey's book the 7th Habits of Highly Effective People, I try to always seek to understand, rather than to be understood.
Because of my vast traveling I do a lot of reading on cultures, customs and try to gather information on the places and people I will encounter. This has allowed me to stay sharp and learn that there is more than one way to think about a situation or endeavor. In my opinion most leaders are not good because of two things. The first is they stop learning and developing, and the second is they have a narrow mind. The two walk hand in hand and result in poor leadership.
DANGER #1: LACK OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
I am a huge champion for personal development, I think it is the great equalizer in life. It has meant so much to me and the progression in my life. Jim Rohn the great life philosopher would always say "Education will make you a living, self development will make you a fortune." This is not only true monetarily, but I believe you will experience life better as well when you constantly develop. I tell leaders that I lead that growth is not an option for a leader that wants to be around for a long time.
We are wired to produce in life, but you cannot produce at the level you are capable of, if you do not grow and develop. A few things happen when you don't grow.
DANGER #2: BEING NARROW MINDED
Achieving goals and producing results at high levels require that you have a wealth of knowledge available to you. Companies like McDonald's, Starbucks and Microsoft that operate around the world must be led by individuals that have a world view. These leaders must possess a global view. Because of a lack of personal development, many leaders have a narrow view of leadership, systems and operations and cannot survive in a task or position that require a depth of insight.
It is very difficult to grow and learn if you think you have arrived. I like to consider myself a sponge, so I ask a lot of questions, I heard someone say, we have two ears and one mouth, because we should listen more than we talk.
Learning how to relate to different cultures and traditions have made me a far better leader than if I looked at everything from my own experiences and knowledge base. Being narrow minded leads to the following:
As a leader commit to continued personal growth. The Japanese have a single word for "constant and never-ending improvement" and it's called "Kaizen." Kaizen is from the Japanese words Kai and Zen where "kai" means change and "zen" means good.
One of the great biblical writers the Apostle Paul made the following statement:
"To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 1 Corithians 9:22
Paul didn't have a narrow mind, he was well educated and knew that his effectiveness was tied to his ability to engage from a wide perspective, with a single focus.
I recently shared the stage with Brad Casper, the recent former President of the Phoenix Suns, and he shared with me his experience of working in Japan earlier in his career. Once lesson that he took away was the feeling of being a minority, from the aspect that he was usually the tallest person and usually the only American in many of his business meetings in Japan. This helped him develop a sensitivity in his leadership toward others that were in a minority group of any kind.
As a leader, you want to have a wide perspective, with a single focus.
Author, Genius Potential
America's #1 Leadership Life Trainer
Please take a moment to vote for me for Small Business Influencer of the Year. Takes less than 5 seconds, just click on yellow button. Click on Image!!!
Dr. Will is an author, speaker and leadership consultant....