I’m a student of leadership. I read leadership books, listen to leadership gurus and read leaders’ blogs. I’ve especially gained much insight by reading biographies of leaders from many fields, walks of life and historical periods such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln.
In addition, as a benefit of my work at SpringHill, I have the privilege of spending time with incredible leaders from many leadership contexts and places in the world. And over the last couple of months I’ve been with more leaders than usual which moved me to ask “is there something all these leaders have in common?”
Through all my study and observation I became convinced there’s one quality every effective and enduring leader possesses.
It’s that they’re intensely curious. They desire (and maybe more accurately “need”) to learn and grow as people and as leaders so they can lead their organizations better and see those they lead grow as well.
I can’t think of an effective and enduring leader I’ve studied, seen or interacted with that didn’t have this quality as part of their being.
Just as every leader’s different, this quality – the desire to learn and this intense curiosity’s expressed differently.
Some leaders learn through experience such as benchmarking other organizations.
Most leaders read, which explains why the cliché “readers are leaders” resonates as true.
Many use coaches, mentors and other advisors to help them learn, grow and improve.
Yet regardless of the method of learning this quality’s still the same – they have this intense curiosity and an endless thirst to learn.
And for this reason it’s also the one quality that I will fight to have in my life for as long as I live.