One of my key messages, one that I really want people to get, is the fact that we are ALL capable of being GREAT leaders. All of us, no matter where we started, or where we are now.
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles; like this one on Authentic Leadership, or this one on Leading with Courage; great leaders are not born, they are made. Leadership has very little to do with position or title, it has to do with sharing a vision, building trust and having the skills necessary to get the results we need.
Leadership also has to do with continuous improvement. Great leaders are always learning and growing.
When I was 16 years old, I was living independently, working full time and going to night school to continue my education. I really wanted tertiary qualifications. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to go straight to University after finishing school, it didn’t stop me.
But it took me a while. There I was, just after my fourth child was born; aged 29, new cherub in one hand and proof that I was a qualified Naturopath in the other. It was a sweet moment. I did it. Finally.
Not too long after, I set up my first small business, and quickly realised just how much I didn’t know. I was qualified to be a Naturopath, but not to run a business. I knew nothing about systems, marketing, lead generation, content marketing and other vital aspects of running a business. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Needless to say, my small business remained small, very small. So back to school I went, and in one form or another I’ve been there ever since.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – J. F. Kennedy
I’ve since done lots of short courses, completed other degrees, post grad study and even an MBA. Everything I’ve learned has contributed to the knowledge bank I share with my team and clients today. Study has been an important aspect of my leadership journey.
For the past year or so Marketing has been my subject – yes, I’m still a student. I’ve done many courses; some great, some not so, but all of them contribute to the expertise I believe I need to run my business and teach my team.
I can tell you that it’s so much easier to learn today than it was when I was running my first business in 1992. There is so much available online; no need for sitters, travel and schedule juggling. You can now complete an entire university degree via distant education. Online learning and the internet has also opened communication so that we small business owners can actually find out what we don’t know.
Primarily I prefer to study online. I do attend some workshops, seminars and conferences, but for the most part, I like to go at my own pace and personalise the study to my business. Online study is also a wonderful way for business owners with small children to continue their education without major schedule interruptions.
There are so many good quality online courses available to help you grow your business and build your leadership skills. I have completed many of the courses here on ABN and on Udemy.com. They are inexpensive and available on many business building topics. I do courses on topics that I teach, I share what I’ve learned with my team. Continuous improvement keeps me up to date with what’s happening so I can be confident in my delivery.
“Education is the Mother of Leadership” Wendell Willkie
As a leader it is your job to develop not only the skills of your team but your own skills too. Your team and your clients will appreciate that you are continuously developing your skills and building knowledge to share with them.
Continuous education will build your business, build your team and ultimately, build your leadership skills.