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Good Leaders Know There’s Always More to Learn
Learning is a fundamental human ability that allows us to keep pace with the changing world. Leaders are at the cutting edge of change, growth, and evolution. They can’t afford to give up learning. Leaders who lose their ability to learn lose their ability to lead.
“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” – Brian Herbert.
Learning and leadership go hand in hand. Great leaders never miss opportunities to learn new things, and they view all their reports as potential sources of information.
As a leadership coaching professional, I understand the role of learning in leadership. Focusing on continual learning allows leaders to remain humble and willing to utter the all-powerful words, “I was wrong.”
Learning is the source of all personal achievements and progress.
The Role of Learning in Leadership
Learning is key to a successful life. As children, we learn every day. We learn from elders, teachers, peers, television, and many other sources. As adults, this learning instinct weakens in some while continuing to burn in others. Successful leaders must keep the fire of curiosity burning as this gives them the push to continue.
Leaders committed to lifelong learning are more effective than those who fall into apathy. Here’s why:
- They lead by example. Leaders eager to learn exude attitudes of curiosity and openness that rub off on peers and employees. They show the way to self-improvement, thus improving their organizations. Leaders who know the value of learning create and drive organizational cultures where learning is part of the fabric of everyday existence.
- They create the vision and promise of a better future. Continued learning engages the imagination. Leadership coaching encourages leaders to create visions for themselves and organizations and plot courses to achieve those visions. Continuous learning allows leaders to create worthy and realistic visions they can share with followers to gain their buy-in.
- They more accurately predict the future. Continued learning allows leaders to anticipate events and industry trends better. It’s the job of a leader to embrace change and predict the future to some degree. Learning-inclined leaders can do both. They are better informed than their disinterested peers and are “in the loop,” unlike those who don’t care about seeking out and assimilating new information.
- They’re better at showing genuine vulnerability. Executive coaching never fails to reiterate the importance of showing genuine vulnerability. This makes leaders more relatable and human. It allows them to delegate better and use the skills and knowledge of reports more effectively. Leadership vulnerability empowers employees and creates safe environments that encourage them to contribute meaningfully.
- They use failures as learning opportunities. In every failure, there’s an opportunity. Mature, intelligent leaders understand failures carry lessons and are open to learning what failures teach them.
- They push themselves to higher performance levels. Learning entails challenges. These challenges trigger growth. Leaders open to learning don’t shy away from challenges and are intentional about improving their performance. This attitude reflects on those they lead and positively impacts their organizations.
It’s impossible to embrace change without learning.
Executive coaching professionals and good leaders understand there’s always more to learn. Our world is not static; it continues to evolve. This evolution requires continued adaptation, which is impossible without continual learning. Leaders who lose their ability to keep learning lose their ability to lead.
Learning Is Not an Option; It’s a Necessity
Learning has never been as important for the health of an organization as it is today. Business coaching can teach leaders how to plan for the present and take possible future scaling needs into account, but it can’t teach them how to predict the future or how to regularly embrace change.
Being open to change requires a certain mindset; the ability and willingness to learn are essential components of that mindset.