Your Leadership Journey

I am always a little surprised when someone refers to me as an “authority” or “expert” on leadership. While I certainly appreciate the respect they are showing me by describing me with those words I know otherwise. 

 

I know some stuff about leadership but I also know that I know a tiny percentage of what it’s possible to know. I know too that neither I nor anyone else can ever come close to knowing more than that small percentage. 

 

Since leadership is about people and only people it’s impossible to truly be an “expert on leadership.” People will always surprise you. You can predict with some accuracy what people will do based on their past performance but never with enough accuracy to be a true expert. 

 

People are unique, they are actually even unique from themselves depending on the circumstances in their life at any given time. 

 

That’s what makes leadership so fascinating. It is what makes leadership so rewarding and it’s what makes leading so challenging. 

 

When someone else tells me that they are a leadership expert I am more than skeptical. I have only heard a couple of people describe themselves as an Authentic Leader. The moment the words came out of their mouth I was pretty certain they were anything but authentic. 

 

It’s kinda like when someone offers a class on humility taught by an “expert” on the subject. As soon as someone accepts the description of themselves as an expert on humility they are no longer humble enough to speak about it. So it is with leadership!

 

Authentic Leaders know that their journey to leadership excellence will never end. Authentic Servant Leaders know that helping the people they lead must always be the purpose of that journey. 

 

If you’re not constantly working on your knowledge of leadership then you run the risk of falling behind other leaders. If you’re not always developing your leadership skills then you run the risk of losing the people you would lead. 


Learning about all things leadership never stops for the best leaders. If you didn’t learn something new about leading others yesterday then you had best double your efforts today because if you’re not learning then you’re not leading.

8 thoughts on “Your Leadership Journey

  1. Great reflection, Steve. It reminded me of the JFK quote: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” and the idea that ego and self-awareness are inversely correlated with each other. Maintaining a teachable spirit no matter what you’ve accomplished is one of a leader’s toughest challenges.

    • Thanks Cash, I agree. The best, most effective leaders know that they can be wrong about pretty much anything at anytime. Leaders who fail seem to fail most often when they forget that basic fact.

  2. I like what you have to say about people claiming to be “experts” or “authentic leaders”. Those that typically occupy this title in my mind never claim to be either, they simply are. Claiming the title almost seems like you have nothing more to learn and that you have reached an impossible pinnacle of leadership excellence. However, there is always something to be learned and something to be improved.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. franksonnenberg says:

    Good morning Steve

    Great post today. I think there may be a typo in the last paragraph.

    “Leaning about all things leadership never stops for the best leaders.” Should the first word in this sentence be learning?

    Have an awesome week!

    Best,

    Frank

    >

  4. Janeck Uibo says:

    Dera Mr Keating,

    I’m following quite a long time your newsletter and as I see it useful, I’m wondering whether it is possible to reprint some of your stories/recommendations from time to time also in my online magazine Edasi.org (it is citizen driven project). It is in estonian language and I will translate articles into estonian. And I’m asking your permission for that. Every article will be properly linked to your website as well.

    Thank you and looking forward to hear you soon, Janeck Uibo Founder

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