Continuous Learning and its Role in Leadership

by Karlin Sloan

One of the best things you can do as a leader is to keep learning no matter your age or level on the org chart. If you don’t learn to grow, advance, and adapt, you’ll probably face the same fate as many failed antiquated giants – like the bookseller, Borders.The pain of not learning and growing

But, maybe you’re thinking to yourself that you enjoy the “old school” way of thinking and doing business, that you don’t want to change the tried and true way of business. Think again. While you spend your time resisting and ignoring the way the rest of the world is learning and growing, especially through technology – those who used to have the same “old school” mentality are now making deals via video conferencing and attending think tanks with other industry leaders. Meanwhile, you’re sitting by your phone hoping someone will call.

Growth through learning also leads to:

  • Saving money on skills that you should be able to learn and do yourself; i.e. scheduling or research, especially with the Internet.
  • Nabbing great opportunities for better deals and business from the competition at a faster clip through the use of networking sites like LinkedIn.
  • Getting promotions within your company that most likely needs growth to survive and succeed. You’ll get noticed if you show initiative!
  • Gaining a great source of fulfillment – when you learn new skills, there’s great satisfaction and power in doing so.

Promoting continuous learning will not only make life easier for you, but also for those you lead. Here are four easy ways for leaders to keep an open mind and create an environment for learning:

  1. Read blogs: They will sharpen your industry knowledge. Usually blogs are kept fairly short, so reading 5-6 a day can be easily achieved.
  2. Become familiar with new technology: Smartphones and tablets are all the rage with the information-hungry generation – but who says you can’t be information hungry, too? Go to your local electronics store and play around with a few models to see which is best for your needs. You, too, can keep up with the news, chat with people all over the world and go over presentation items all on your morning commute.
  3. Talk to people: One of the best ways to learn is to learn from others. Talk to your taxi driver or to the newest employee in your office. Chances are you’ll learn a new perspective or bit of information.
  4. Branch out: Heard about a conference that doesn’t exactly pertain to your business? Go anyway! Being there, talking to new people, and hearing new thoughts will get those gears turning in your brain for your life and company.

Your employees trust you as a leader. And being a leader means making sure you look out for your employees. Promote their learning, develop their careers and adaptability in business. You won’t lose yourself or your values – you’ll enrich them. And, more importantly, you’ll have a better chance at surviving in your own career and business.

Karlin SloanKarlin Sloan is an author, speaker, impassioned CEO and founder of leadership development and executive coaching firm, Karlin Sloan & Company providing organization development consulting, training and executive coaching to clients in the U.S., South America and Asia. Find out more at www.karlinsloan.com. Take your RAW-Q today.

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