In Part 1 of the Four Pillars of Leadership article series we discussed Trust and the importance of mutual trust and engendering confidence to inspire and lead teams. In Part 2 we will discuss the second Pillar of Leadership Excellence and the significance of this pursuit in relation to strong leadership.
Continuous Learning and Improvement
Few of us can wear the title "professional athlete" or "Grammy award-winning singer." The truth is while we may love to play a few rounds of golf or sing a tune we are certainly no Tiger Woods or Elvis Presley. So what is it that separates our raw talent from that of a world-renowned sports star or a cultural icon like Elvis? Less than you might think actually because basically the difference is the pursuit of excellence. Sure there is inherent talent and desire to add into the equation but the point is even the most famous "professionals" are constantly undergoing a rigorous curriculum of continuous learning and improvement.
Reaching Beyond Excellence
Does that mean that if you train hard enough you might become the next Tiger Woods? Perhaps. But in the business world, the pursuit of excellence is key to successful leadership. Excellence is not perfection but a pursuit to strive for more despite the success you have already achieved. After all, no one (Tiger Woods included) should ever stop learning and each and every one of us can always improve. Even Olympic athletes have coaches and someone to push and encourage them to reach past excellence. In the end, there are a few things leaders need to keep in mind while pursuing excellence:
- Are we willing to make the commitment to being a continuous lifelong learner?
- Do we have the discipline to put forth the effort when we know it's going to be challenging?
- Can we focus our efforts when it's required?
- Can we take action when we need to?
Remember the pursuit of excellence is a lifelong quest that should never be abandoned no matter the degree of success you may achieve. Achieving excellence is a continuously moving target ever-changing much like the horizon in the distance as we move closer to our destination. As we improve ourselves our mind's goals and vision reveal even greater opportunities to get better. Having the discipline to commit to continuous learning and improvement is how great leaders excel.