A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel – Proverbs 1:5
You have probably heard the saying that leaders are learners. I think one of the key drivers to having a thirst for knowledge and to always be learning is one of the key traits of an effective leader:
Curiosity is about engagement. Curious leaders are proactive in reaching out to group members in order to better understand where they are personally, emotionally, and spiritually, and encourage them to take meaningful steps towards their heavenly Father.
- Curious leaders are hungry to know more about their group members. They go out of their way to understand group members’ perspective—not so they can change minds, but so they can connect and lead people toward deeper relationships with Jesus.
- Curious leaders don’t teach. They ask questions.
Patrick Lencioni wrote about this character quality in his book The Ideal Team Player but called it “hungry” which is synonymous with curiosity:
Hungry: Ideal team players are hungry. They are always looking for more. More things to do. More to learn. More responsibility to take on. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.
Brad Loemenick also wrote about this in his book H3 Leadership and too called it “Hungry” and packaged “Curiosity” under hungry as a character trait of it defining it as keep learning:
- Ambition: Develop an appetite for what’s next
- Curiosity: Keep learning
- Passion: Love what you do
- Innovation: Stay current, creative, and engaged
- Inspiration: Nurture a vision for a better tomorrow
- Bravery: Take calculated risks
One of the ways I challenge myself to constantly be learning is through personal reading challenges. In these I frequently challenge myself to read outside my comfort zone and to read more broadly. I also like to challenge myself by reading multiple books at the same time. This allows me to take a more integrative approach to what God is teaching me.
Even if you are not a reader there are steps you can take to learn to read more and expand your learning rate within the next year or more. One of the most helpful discoveries I have made is how much can be read in disciplined blocks of time each day. The best source to constantly be learning from however is the Bible. It is a collection of books that is active and living teaches us the best way to live life both now and for eternity.
Yet all of this matters little if you do not put what you are learning into action. The biggest gap for a lot of people is not that they do not learn enough but that they have not taken steps to put what they are learning into practice. This requires wisdom, humility and discipline to integrate what you are learning into making life changes that aligns with God’s guidance for you.
How do you challenge yourself to continue learning as a leader? What steps do you take to move from learning to applying?