Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Leadership and learning


A recent post on the HubSpot blog, Rick Burns suggests the most important internet marketing skill is learning. Rick makes a point that no one is an internet marketing expert yet, but the ones who are trying and learning along the way are quickly becoming the experts.

Leadership and Learning

If you were to choose the most important characteristic or aspect of leadership, what would it be? Is it possible to determine the (single) most important aspect of leadership? The answers to these questions will no doubt differ from one person to another, and from one leadership guru to another. However, like Rick points out in the context of internet marketing, one thing that seems to be a common trait in great leaders, regardless of the time or place they have lived, is a penchant for learning.

The pace of progress in the world today requires that leaders be learners. The following quote by Eric Hoffer speaks volumes: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

The salient idea in Ricks post is the importance of not being afraid to make mistakes. Becoming a leader does not happen over night. You will make mistakes along the way; everyone does. The key to your progress is losing the fear of making mistakes. Success requires making mistakes. According to Conrad Hilton, “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Persistence is the key to leadership.

The Product Management Perspective: The subject of learning should course through every product manager’s agenda.  Just when you think you understand a market or a product or a buyer persona, it changes. To keep up with the evolution of product management, you need to understand where it’s at and where it’s headed. Read blogs, books and magazines. Make it a point to be a learner. Talk to your teams about what you are learning; you will gain respect and be seen as the leader.

Image: Courtesy of Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

6 thoughts on “Leadership and learning

  1. From remarks prepared for a speech to be given on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated:

    “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

    Sums it up nicely, doesn’t it.

    Enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  2. As leader, writer on leadership issues; and, an internet marketeer – I agree 1) no one knows for sure – with leadership and the Web, circumstance change constantly and people are hiding critical information – heck no one knows half the time what followers are thinking and no one REALLY knows what makes good SEO. 2) the basics, however, are the basics – like good SEO: design, content, links Good leadership: vision, compassion, etc. the rest is, well, witchcraft and voodoo:)

  3. Interesting questions Michael. My take is that leadership is a process, not a position. Therefore, I find it quite impossible to nail down one “most important” characteristic of leadership. We can, however, discuss what it takes to be a successful leader. There are many characteristics required in order to be a successful leader, but which one is most important? Or, which one holds the most value? This is surely up for discussion.

  4. Pingback: The Prime Leader » Blog Archive » The Leader – The First Element of the Leadership Process

  5. Pingback: The Prime Leader » Blog Archive » The Leader - The First Element of the Leadership Process

  6. Pingback: Five Years of Leading on Purpose « Lead on Purpose

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