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Learn to Lead

Updated on September 27, 2012

Learning Leadership

This is a simple, proven guide for those who have been, will be or wish to be promoted.

It's been said that if you walk with two people, you should be able to teach one and learn from the other.

This dual talent is the hallmark of a leader. But not everyone 'gets' the second part.

Seeking help when you need it is smart, mature and practical. It benefits everyone involved (and hence your organisation).

Help is all around. It's also above and below.

Just ask.




If you're replacing a manager who's gone to better things (including retirement), they can be a mine of advice and information.

Time spent with them is an excellent investment.

1. Burning issues.

2. Top performers.

3. Political considerations.

4. Economic realities.

5. Painful lessons.

6. The list is long.

Forewarned is forearmed, and their field intelligence can add great power to your management campaign.


If you have a colleague (in your unit or even another organisation) you can team with them. By sharing what you learn, you double your input.

You’ll also have someone to call when you’re unsure what to do.

Buddy relationships can last for decades. And as you both advance, you’ll help each other in ever more significant ways.

So try to orbit a few fellow stars.



Everyone wants to impress the boss. But it cuts both ways. It’s their responsibility to give you what you need to succeed.

Yet with today’s self-directed careers, you must ensure they do.

1. If it’s your first staff termination, get your manager to do a role play with you.

2. If you’re a bit shaky on budgets, ask to watch them do theirs.

Learning from your leader has another big advantage. When they’re away, you can hold the fort.

And when they move on, you’re the logical successor.

Mentor / Coach

Depending on your level, you may be assigned a formal mentor. In some organisations, a ‘coach’ may offer informal support when you arrive.

These are both welcome resources. If neither appears, you should seek out your own.

People who become ‘masters’ in their field often wish to pass on their expertise. If they decant their wisdom into you, you’ll gain a life of lessons without learning the hard way.

Masters are also like a living encyclopaedia. If you hit a tricky task or situation, you just look them up for the answer.


Reverse Mentor

Wisdom is no longer the domain of the old.

Technology is moving too fast for anyone to keep pace. From social media to iPhones to cloud computing, you’ll need to tap specialists from time to time.

As these enthusiasts are often younger than those they help, they’re called ‘reverse mentors’. Using them saves time, money and tears.

In return for their technical advice, you can impart knowledge they’ve not had the time or opportunity to learn.

Team Member

Every office has its foibles, from the colour printer to the Kris Kringle policy. Staff who’ve spent years there know the ropes.

Ask and learn from your team. They’ll appreciate your humility (and the chance to demonstrate their expertise).

You’ll get a close look at their talents and team spirit (while avoiding embarrassing errors).

What do YOU think?

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    • PaulHassing LM profile image

      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @darciefrench lm: You guys are SO supportive! Thank you. :)

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 7 years ago

      I was about to say what Tipi said -:)

    • PaulHassing LM profile image

      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @anonymous: You are so kind, Tipi. Thank you very much indeed! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      You have such a gift for putting critical information in a nut shell, you did it again here!

    • PaulHassing LM profile image

      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @CliveAnderson LM: Thank you, Clive. I'm delighted to hear you feel that way! Best regards, P. :)

    • CliveAnderson LM profile image

      CliveAnderson LM 7 years ago

      Great lens with some very informative and interesting philosophies... Thank you for sharing.

      Warm Regards,


    • PaulHassing LM profile image

      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @hunksparrow: It makes me happy when I hear one of my lenses is useful. Thanks very much for letting me know! :)

    • hunksparrow profile image

      hunksparrow 7 years ago

      Excellent advice. Something I can definitely use in the workplace. Thank you

    • PaulHassing LM profile image

      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @thesuccess2: Thank you. I may just do that! :)

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 7 years ago

      Good idea for a lens. I'd recommend developing it even further. It's tough to be a boss!

    • PaulHassing LM profile image

      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @sirkeystone lm: Thank you, James. That's very kind of you to say so. :)

    • sirkeystone lm profile image

      sirkeystone lm 7 years ago

      Hey Paul! Good to hear more from you! This is good stuff!