The modern world is in a constant state of change and innovation.
This world demands that that you keep up it, or be left behind.
And to be a leader in this highly globalized, technologically-advanced world, leaders needs to embrace the process of what business leadership expert John P. Kotter calls, “learning leadership.”
Kotter’s book, Leading Change, grows more relevant by the year even a decade after its publication. The book lays out a comprehensive action plan and approach to business leadership through the lens of “organizational change” — a business leadership practice that focuses on an organization or business’ ability to aptly develop, innovate and transform amid rapidly changing modern times.
While the study of organizational change and development (hereafter referred to as “OCD”) pertains largely to business leadership; the values, skills and strategies undertaken by “change leaders” can be aptly be applied to notions of unconventional or alternative personal leadership in everyday life. In other words, we adapt “learning leadership” to the way we lead our day-to-day lives, and be better everyday leaders, ourselves.
Why is learning leadership needed now, more than ever?
Kotter contends that the unique conditions and circumstances of the technologically advanced 21st century will demand a need for leaders to leadership develop skills through lifelong learning because that patter of growth is increasingly being rewarded by a rapidly changing environment.
The development of one’s leadership skills in the past was starkly different:
“In a static world, leaders can learn virtually everything that they need to know in life by the time we are fifteen, and few of us are called on to provide leadership. In an ever changing world, we can never learn it all. So, the development of leadership skills becomes relevant to an ever-increasing number of people.”
As the world around us changes so rapidly with every day that passes, business leaders and unconventional, quiet leaders must also aptly and constantly develop skills of learning that allow us to maximize our leadership potential and create the positive change we wish to see in our lives and in those around us.
But isn’t the business world’s sense of learning leadership starkly different than “quiet leadership” in everyday life?
While Kotter is treating leadership through the lens of business leadership and OCD, men and women looking to better themselves and foster a stronger sense of personal leadership can aptly apply the strategies behind the concept of learning leadership:
“Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles.”
With Kotter’s definition of business leadership in mind, let us modify it to fit our own want of becoming better personal leaders in our everyday lives:
- How do you want your future and the future of those around you to look like?
- How can you align people to the vision of the better future that you desire?
- How can you inspire men and women to make that better future a reality, despite what obstacles may arise?
Learning leadership is unique in that it is a form of leadership that — like the rapidly changing world we are living in — requires constant learning, constant innovation and improvement. Modern leadership demands fluidity, openness, and the will to constantly change in order to improve one’s craft and abilities.
Further, one’s own personal leadership — like business leadership — demands that as the rate of change and innovation increases in our lives and in those around us, our willingness and ability to keep learning new things and continually better ourselves will be an integral component to realizing, aligning, and inspiring others to make a better future a reality. How will you apply learning leadership to your life?