Why Your Lack Of Education May Be Your Biggest Leadership Strength

While many potential and current leaders see a lack of education as a weakness, I believe your lack of education can be your biggest strength. You might be surprised for the reasons. Yet, when I’m finished, I think you’ll agree.

You don’t have to be formally educated to lead. Though being educated doesn’t hurt. But what happens when you’re not educated?

Three men gathered around a laptop with a big bookshelf in the background

Photo by Pricilla Du Preez

You might believe other leaders are looking down on you. They see someone who hasn’t paid their dues or doesn’t have the commitment to stick through formal education. There’s a good chance they’d be wrong on both accounts.

Don’t be shamed by those who claim you have to have gone to college to become a leader. You don’t have to go through all of the schooling they say you do.

Becoming An Educated Leader

Through the uneducated leader series, you might have begun to realize it’s okay to become a leader without a formal education. There are plenty of leaders who have or are leading without a college degree. On might even be one of those. Or maybe you’re a leader who once thought everybody needs a formal education.

Man in a blue graduation cap and gown

Photo by Muhammad Rizwa

Where ever you land on this spectrum, I’m glad you’re here and learning about the different ways you can become an educated leader. We’re going to look at ways you can expand your wisdom and become educated.

It’s Okay To Continue To Learn

One of the saddest things a leader can do is to stop learning. Whether this means a leader who stopped reading books once they graduated high school or college to they no longer seek out the wisdom of those further along the journey than they are.

Learning While Leading

One of the greatest things about leading is that you don’t have to know all of the answers. You can discover the right answers through your time leading.

This is one of the reasons leaders don’t have to go through formal training. Leading is a learn on the job type of experience.

Male mechanic working on a vehicle

There are more times than not when a leader has to look at their current situation and realize their education didn’t give them an answer. Rather, their experience in the workplace or at home has given them insight into their issue.

Lead And Learn

Leaders are presented with new situations on a daily, if not hourly, basis. New problems and issues arise and it is up to you, the leader, to figure out the solution.

Formal education may lay the groundwork for the problem-solving matrix yet it only goes so far. When you’re presented with an issue that wasn’t covered in your MBA, what do you do?

The Uneducated Leader

Getting your foot in the door of a leadership position can be difficult, if not seemingly impossible. Yet you can become a leader without an education.

Many great organizational leaders have stepped into a leadership role without formal education. They didn’t let their lack of education stop them from becoming great leaders.

Man with laced up brown boots sitting on concrete stairs

Photo by Camila Damasio

These leaders often had to step up when no one else would. They would see a challenge and choose to move towards the challenge, rather than away from it. They knew someone had to take action and why not them?

How The Uneducated Are Often Seen

Sadly, those who don’t hold a formal degree are often looked down upon. The views of many seem to be that formally uneducated people lack drive and passion. They’re flakey and won’t stick around.

This is understandable. This is also untrue.

Famous Leaders Without A Formal Education

It’s always a fascinating journey to take a look at famous leaders and see who did or did not have a formal education. There are many such leaders and you may be surprised at who skipped out on college and a degree.

Today, we’re going to look at leaders from around the world who did not have a college education or dropped out before their graduation date. I’ll be honest, I was surprised by some of these.

Man facing clouds and a beautiful sunrise

Photo by Nghia Le

If you think your lack of education will stop you from leading, let this list be an encouragement to you. You don’t need an education to lead. What you do need is passion, wisdom, and the ability to step up when others are sitting down.