How the Best Leaders Invest In Themselves

The best leaders are not born into greatness—they work hard to become great. It’s true of leaders at every level: successful CEOs, executives, directors, managers and supervisors.

And smart leaders understand that they are never done learning, because learning is a lifelong process. They treat learning as an investment in themselves. Here are some of the forms that investment takes:

They’re open to feedback. The best way to invest in yourself as a leader is to be open to feedback. It’s a crucial skill for anyone in a collaborative work environment, and especially for leaders. Engaging with people directly and showing that you truly hear what they are saying is one of the best ways to build strong bonds and make yourself accessible as a leader.

They’re always reading. In my experience, I have found that most great leaders are avid readers—for example, Bill Gates goes away on short retreats with 20 or so books. Whether you’re learning a technical skill, seeking personal development or learning more about someone you admire, reading is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to invest in yourself.

They learn from their mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, including leaders. But smart leaders make a point of learning from their mistakes and from the mistakes of others. They’re constantly examining their actions and responses to find ways they can improve.

They grow their network. Leaders are not loners who stay away from other people. On the contrary, they’re always looking for ways to grow their professional network and maintain relations with their colleagues and peers. A strong network can help you stay ahead of industry trends and foster productive collaboration.

They learn how to ask questions. Even if they’re very knowledgeable within their field, most leaders work as generalists. The best leaders understand that people who work with the details every day will have deeper knowledge, and they know that asking questions is a sign of respect and strength, not weakness.

They make time for reflection. No one can function properly without taking some time to stop and think things through. The best leaders make time for reflection, taking pause throughout the day and refocus. It may sometimes feel like a waste of time, but those who practice it regularly find it’s the source of their deepest insights.

They have a coach. Great leaders understand that self-development doesn’t happen in isolation and that investing in themselves requires the support and expertise of others. A compatible coach can help you maximize opportunities and minimize obstacles.

The pace of life is fast, and when it’s already difficult to keep up with the demands of the day it may be hard to imagine carving out even more time for yourself.

But like wise investors, great leaders realize that a good long-term return requires regular investments, even small ones, in the present. And they’re not afraid to spend their time and money on the best practices to help their investment develop and grow.

Lead from within: The strongest investment you can make is an investment in yourself, that is how you get great leadership.


#1 N A T I O N A L  B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. George Bond

    20. Dec, 2019

    I would like to use this as a mini-leadership lesson in the Coast Guard Auxiliary citing you of course. We are a totally volunteer organization helping the Coast Guard. We do mentor, vice coach, our members as most of it is for specific tasks. However in our leadership model we do note that coaching is needed once the member finds out what they do not know and is discouraged as coaching provided both instruction and support.

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  2. Reese Evans

    10. May, 2022

    Leaders and enterprenurs are always wanted to invest on new business or start up. By this way newbies got chance.

    Reply to this comment

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