“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
Great leaders are great learners. The world is changing and evolving at a faster pace than ever before. Continuous learning is a building block for a successful career and increasingly necessary to remain relevant as both technology and culture expand and evolve. Many professions require a certain amount of continuing education to maintain their technical skills, but leaders also need to sharpen their soft skills. Lifelong learning can improve leadership skills like critical thinking, strategic decision-making, and people management. It can also provide networking opportunities and improve relationship-building to grow business.
Continuing education can take many forms. Many technical professions require updating certifications through formal classes; others encourage managers to take seminars and complete online learning modules. However, leaders can take several paths to continuous education and encourage their people to do the same.
Most successful leaders are naturally curious and love to learn. Many are prolific readers. Warren Buffet once said, “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American Business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business.” Studies have shown that in addition to gaining new information and perspectives, reading can improve concentration, increase empathy for others, and relieve stress.
Attend External Industry Events
Find industry events like conferences and trade fairs to stay up to date on industry trends and learn how peers tackle current challenges. Join trade associations and other professional networks to meet leaders in your industry and share ideas. Leaders can learn so much from each other; whether it is providing a sounding board for new ideas or getting perspective on changes in the industry, building relationships with peers can only help your business.
Enroll in an Ongoing Training and Development Program
Seeking out a leadership development program for yourself and your managers can produce great results. Rather than a one-time seminar, consider a long-term interactive management training option. For example, Crestcom’s signature leadership development program provides interactive training with results-oriented curriculum and networking opportunities over 12 months, followed by opportunities for continuing education for graduates of the program. Hands-on learning with peers from different industries will expand your knowledge and your network and is an effective way to ensure a culture of learning throughout your organization.