#3 The Magic of Self Leadership and The Learning Continuum.
Past decades the workforce has been trading loyalty for job security. If you showed up to work, made a good effort, stayed out of trouble, didn’t sleep with bosses daughter/son or in some cases did, followed orders, you were usually secure in your job. Past decades we have witnessed the world of bosses, managers and prisoners, but this mindset has been slowly vanishing and lifetime employment is a thing of the past. Thanks to millennials whose mindset and core belief system just refuses to perform under the wand of “old school” bosses, the world of self-leaders is starting to emerge.
Boss - Their job is to get things done, they are in center of attention, people respect them, they give tasks to managers, king of the castle, pulling the strings - Puppetmaster;
Manager - Lower-level boss who’s giving marching orders to prisoners, managing people by telling them what to do;
Prisoner - “9 to 5” employer, (coming to work, doing their time, going home) x 240 days, passenger of his/her own ship, paid by the ass hours;
Self-leader - daily practitioner of self-leadership, a coach, a mentor, captain of his/her own ship, people love them. Self-leadership is the process by which you influence yourself and others to achieve your and their objectives.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a prisoner. It’s safe, it’s secure, it pays the bills and it helps you feel comfortable, doesn’t it? Being secure and safe is food for our comfort-zone and emotional side of the brain, but the thing is that all great things happen beyond the wall of comfort-zone. Success begins where the comfort-zone ends. Self-leaders want to be surrounded by people who are problem solvers and are willing to take initiative. They want people who work like they own the place. That was the main reason and what I like most about working in an Estonian start-up Shipitwise and why I left my secure job in Mercedes dealership. Mercedes treated me well, I had the best 4 years of my life - met the most amazing person in my life, met new friends, got acquainted with the Estonian business elite, travelled, became a man spiritually and developed my core values, but it just didn’t have some extra mustard for me. I simply became stagnant and it was the right time to move on a make some room for a new motivated fireball of a salesman.
People today want 2 things. First, we want honesty, so cut the bullshit and be upfront. Secondly we want opportunities to constantly learn new skills. As la leader you need to create an environment where we are valued as part of the company’s culture and journey, not just an employer who have their marching orders. There’s no better way to become more valuable than to be able to take initiative, become a problem solver, work and think like an owner and a leader. The traditional pyramid of leadership has evolved into a new and softer shape: the earthly wind, water and fire of empowering individuals. The truth is that most bosses today can no longer play the traditional role of telling people what, when and how to do things. There’s no better leadership style than situational leadership which means working more and more 1-on-1 with people, developing more personal relationships with your people as a leader and doing anything in your power to help them reach their full potential. Want to know more about 1-on-1? Go check out Clanbeat. Clanbeat is to situational leadership what Mr. Miyagi was to Daniel-san in Karate Kid.
Being a true leader is all about devoting yourself to your people and serving them, but that’s just one side of the same coin. The other side is people who have the urge to learn more about not just business, but life in general. Who want and are willing to do what’s necessary to become better, are the masters of learning, because the day we stop learning is the day we die. Most people die at the age of 27, but they just make it official when they go to another world. We sometimes think that we just know enough and lose the will to be coachable and to learn continuously. I had an awesome teachable moment last week when I again realized that just don’t trust people who don’t read books, are coachable and want to invest in their progression. It leads to stabbing yourself in the back and to poisoning mindset. You are on a mission to learn as much as you can in the time you have. You owe that to your higher purpose and reaching your full potential. Don't consume life, but create, inspire and embrace it. Being curious, continuous learning, self leadership and being a lifetime student of the game is the only way I know that brings you fulfillment and helps reaching your full potential as a human being.
One of my favourite stories about being the lifelong student of the learning game comes from my idol, the founder of Walmart, the great Sam Walton.
There was a group of Brazilian businessmen who sent letters to the heads of the top 10 U.S. retailers asking to come visit and learn how they did business. Most of the U.S. companies ignored the letters, and the few that had acknowledged the Brazilians said, “No.” However, Sam said, “Yes.”
Sam invited them to his hometown in Bentonville, Arkansas and when the Brazilian businessmen came he ended up asking them far more questions then they’d asked him. It turns out that despite being far more successful Sam had invited these men to the U.S. because he wanted to see what he could learn from them.
The story gets even better. Sam later went to Brazil to visit the businessmen and got arrested in the process. The cops thought he was a danger to society because they’d found him on his hands and knees measuring the amount of space a store had left in-between the aisles.
Even though he was the richest man in the United States, Sam was humble enough to get on his hands and knees measuring things because he understood that there was always more he could learn. If Sam Walton, the founder of the largest retailer in the world was willing to go to that length to learn from others then what’s your excuse?
It’s time to stop looking for excuses and and start leading yourself. You are ready when you take responsibility for your own success.
Stay tuned for 3 core steps of self-leadership next week.
Happiness Hero out