Leaders are always learning. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

If you’ve read “Who’s Your Gladys?” or “Taming Gladys!“, you know that we espouse lifelong learning as THE key to success.

A true leader – in any field – likes pursuing new ideas and innovation. They don’t wait for “training” to be scheduled before they decide to learn. In fact, research shows that up to 90% of corporate learning happens informally, outside of formal training classes or workshops. (Of course, that 10% of learning that takes place in formal training is critical to 100% success.)

Here are some ways that leaders use learning to further their careers and the efforts of their team.

  1. They look for the lesson in every mishap. When someone makes a mistake, it’s typically an error. They miss something or make a decision based on limited information. A leader doesn’t make their staff fear making mistakes, they teach them how to find the lesson and make sure the same mistake doesn’t get made twice. The value in every mistake is in the learning.
  2. They stay informed on current events and trends in their industry and in the overall business community. True leaders value knowledge of all types. They know that by paying attention to current events – reading the business and general press from several sources – they will notice trends and new ideas that could benefit their workplace and their staff. They’ll also know which companies are doing well, what industries might be struggling and what thought leaders in all areas of business have to say.
  3. They read industry trade magazines and attend learning conferences. Trade magazines typically cover trends and innovation in their target industry, which is important information for company leadership. And you’ll see senior leaders from the most successful companies at the top conferences. There, they take advantage of opportunities to meet with peers, learn from industry leaders and meet trainers that can help them keep their teams’ skills sharp.
  4. They have an innate commitment to lifelong learning. True leaders aren’t just interested in what’s happening in the business community, they’re also tuned into how well they’re doing. Are there skills they still need to develop? You’ll find them reading books and seeking counsel on skills like relationship building and emotion management. They know that business is about relationships and strengthening their “soft skills” is good for business.
  5. They make sure their team members are always learning, too. A good leader isn’t just committed to their own learning, they’re committed to make sure their staff has similar opportunities.

What about you? How do you keep learning at the forefront of everything you do?

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