Leading, still learning

I think one of the biggest benefits of being a 1,000-Hour Pro is the way it prepares you to lead. But as I’ve been reading my own writing about the 1,000-Hour Pro, I realized that becoming a leader seems like the finish line for the Pro. I couldn’t be more wrong, and I’m here to rectify if I may have lead you astray.

Ascending the ranks and becoming a leader only begins the 1,000-Hour Pro journey. Because as the leader, you have more to learn. Not only does it help you to learn a little about the nuts and bolts of what your team is doing every day, but you now have to learn about that team.

Whenever I read a book, particularly something directly applicable to my professional life, I underline. I am not much of a margin-writer, but I underline anything that resonates. Which gave me a thought. What if you were to read a book as a team and then collect those books when everyone’s done? People underline the things that resonate with them. Things often resonate with them because they feel like that’s something they would like to see in their life or something that they would like to see continue. Regardless, there’s a lesson to be learned about that person. By knowing what your team collectively and individually thinks is important, you can better lead them.

But there’s so much more to learn than just the nuances of your team. Now don’t get me wrong, I think knowing your team well is one of the most important jobs for a leader, and for a while, it’s more than a full-time job. However, as a leader, you’re expected to grow, for yourself and for those you lead. Expanding your skill set is the only thing that keeps you leading. By definition, you’re supposed to blaze the way. If you were expected to tread water, keep the status quo, and never find new ground, you wouldn’t be the leader. You’d probably just be fired.

When you make it to the leadership role you were hoping for, don’t quit. Your stay as a leader will be short-lived if you don’t keep learning. What made you the leader with potential was your willingness to journey as a 1,000-Hour Pro, so continue down the 1,000-Hour-Pro road and become THE leader in your organization with a hunger to grow and learn that can only come to those committed to being a 1,000-Hour Pro for life.


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