One of the paradoxes of leadership is that the time you spend alone can make you a better leader. It’s there, out of public leadership’s high velocity environment, that you can become a better leader by deepening your understanding of the world and yourself.
Reflect. Frederick the Great asked: “What good is experience if you do not reflect?” The answer is: “Not much.” Reflect on specific things, but let your mind wander, too.
Read books and articles that make you think. Read books in your field, but read fiction, too. Read articles with opposing views. Wrestle with the angel of wisdom. You spend your day scanning short messages and executive summaries. Read things you get lost in.
Study. Some of your time alone should be devoted to a learning project. For business it might be “understand financial statements” or reading a specific list of business books. But some development projects can be “learn more about the music of Beethoven” or “learn to make my own sushi.”
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