The NACM Core Competency on Educational Development reminds us that judicial branch operations depend on the education, development, and skills of employees.[1]  It is also important for a court leader to continually learn and be a learning leader.  Here are some thoughts about ongoing leader learning.

  • Multibillionaire Warren Buffet professed four common-sense principles as being behind his success:  choose friends wisely, improve communication skills, be able to say no for self-management, and seek continuous learning. He asserted that lifelong learning puts value on education, that education complements experience, and that learning is an important personal investment comparable to a capital investment.[2]
  • In 2014, Inc. Magazine surveyed 2,700 entrepreneurs and executives on important personality traits.  The entrepreneurs scored being a “knowledge seeker” at a 58% importance rank. According to the executives, the high value was ascribed to acquiring information, using knowledge for competitive edge, and being able to anticipate information and learning needs.[3]
  • Theodore Olson, a constitutional law attorney and former U.S. Solicitor General, asserted during CSPAN hearings, that among the characteristics of great U.S. Supreme Court Justices was the ability to continue learning and be openminded.[4]  May we seek to emulate skills of Supreme Court Justices!
  • The One Day University organization, which sponsors one day seminars and educational offering around the U.S., asserted in their advertising that we should learn something new every day. One Day University notes that learning challenges us and helps us be resilient.  Besides, learning is fun.[5]
  • A Google search of leadership habits or strengths shows the following traits:  step outside the comfort zone, think outside the box, never stop learning, and be a lifelong learner.[6]

My own routine to remind me about learning includes posing the following questions to myself (sometimes in my head and sometimes out loud!): “What should I learn from this?” or “What am I meant to learn and have as a “take-away” from this experience?” “What can I now learn to take my skills to the next level?” “How can I be stronger and get better from this?”

In conclusion, I offer some actions and ideas to be a learning leader.  I hope you can think of additional behaviors!  Go forth and join me in being a learning leader.


[1] See the NACM CORE® on Educational Development at https://nacmcore.org/core/

[2] Harvey Mackay, “My Take on Buffett’s Four Rules for Success,” The Arizona Republic, July 19, 2021.

[3] Leigh Buchanan, “Wired for Success,” Inc. Magazine, September 2014. The full list of highly valued personality traits and rankings included:  risk taker – 85%, business focus – 72%, determination – 71%, delegator – 61%, knowledge seeker – 58%, creative thinker – 56%, confidence – 54%, promoter – 53% independence – 50%, and relationship builder – 46%.

[4] Content borrowed from CSPAN Hearings, September 7, 2018.

[5] Email correspondence from One Day University, September 22, 2020, https://www.onedayu.com/.

[6] Content compiled from several online articles:  15 Vital Leadership Lessons for Anyone, 8 Daily Habits to Build Your Mental Strength, 7 Habits of Exceptionally Successful People.

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