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Leadership Thought #399 – Seek Out Mentors/Experts and Listen To What They Have To Say

August 22, 2012

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Smart leaders seek out mentors and surround themselves with experts that they can leverage as needed.

I chair five leadership peer groups for Vistage International.  It is engaging work that I truly find rewarding on many levels.  One of the many benefits of this experience is listening to a wide variety of subject matter experts and having a vast pool of knowledgeable colleagues to tap into.   A few stand out from this exceptional crowd, including the speaker we had yesterday – Pat Murray.  I have learned a great deal from him about leadership and group dynamics.  When you are in the presence of an expert, make sure you listen to him/her.

Leaders aren’t supposed to know it all, but they should be exceptional learners.  There are many opportunities to learn and develop every day.  There are some things that will come easy to you and others that will take a bit more effort.  You may not even know what you don’t know.  The key is to keep working at it.  Learning as you go can be a valuable exercise, but it also helps to seek out the best and brightest thought leaders and learn from them.  As you grow your business subject matter experts can become an invaluable resource.

We are all a work in process and if you are smart, you will appreciate that the work will never be finished.  I’ve had many mentors and teachers who have positively influenced my life. While I tend to be a verbal person who likes to share my own opinions and experiences, I strive to be smart enough to know when to solicit the input of others. The struggle for many leaders is differentiating what they think they know from what they actually know.  It is expected that you will have strong opinions but leading solely based on opinions is a slippery slope that will lead you to confront head on the gaps in your own knowledge.

If you make the effort to seek out wisdom from experts that are more experienced and better informed on a topic than you, it WILL change your life for the better.  You will uncover shortcuts to happiness and success. Life will seem less challenging and more manageable.  You will become a better leader.  Someone who has enhanced his/her own capacity to handle whatever challenges/opportunities come your way.