Ask anyone to give you a list of skills that describe a highly effective leader and I’m guessing they’ll give you a pretty extensive list. (Go ahead, make a quick mental list right now.)
Since I’ve done this many times in groups I am accustomed to what I will hear or read. These lists typically include: Leaders must have vision, they must be compassionate, they must be good communicators, they must build relationships, they must work well in teams, they must be powerful persuaders”and many other similar sentiments. All are excellent observations.
Rarely though do I find someone listing the most basic, underlying skill of all.
Highly effective, remarkable leaders must be continuous, lifelong learners.
There are at least four reasons why I believe this is true: the complexity of leadership, the nature of change, the role of leaders to model for others and the overall source of leadership. Let me explain.