Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy
A great leader, whether born or made is one who inspires the team to achieve a common goal.
What does it take to be a great leader?
1. A true leader needs to be self-aware; this allows us to to train ourselves to attain the right leadership qualities and skills. Knowing what you need to improve in personal habits and behaviours other than skills that will keep you relevant.
2. Self-Directed and Receptive Learners, staying current with the latest technologies and organizational trends. Great leaders have a fascination with people and display an openness to learning from anyone they encounter.
3. Great Listeners and Communicator, being open to learning from anyone requires the skill of listening. Leaders committed to being lifelong learners know the value of being a great listener. They listen with an open mind and demonstrate a genuine interest in what the speaker has to offer and thank him or her for sharing knowledge and expertise.
Why continuous learning matters?
We are all a work in progress. With the rapidly changing world, we have to stay relevant, effective and resilient. Continuous learning keep leaders abreast of the happenings in their chosen fields.
As we attempt to transition into a networked creative economy, we need leaders who promote learning and who master fast, relevant, and autonomous learning themselves. There is no other way to address the problems we face in this VUCA world. If work is learning and learning is the work, then leadership should be all about enabling learning. In a recent Deloitte study, Global Human Capital Trends 2015, 85% of the respondents cited learning as being either important or very important. Yet, according to the study, more companies than ever report they are unprepared to address this challenge.
The key is to remain teachable and to continue learning at all times. That doesn’t only apply to technical skills, but to soft skills as well. Strategies and technology, we use in business today are far from what we were using years ago but even the communications strategies and people skills need to evolve as your career progresses.
Creating a proactive change management plan can help you and your employees move through it with a minimum of anxiety. As a leader it’s your role learn to accept and advocate change and to support your team members through it.
How do we build a culture of continuous learning and how does it look like?
The need for ongoing learning and development is greater than at any previous point in history. 38% of CEOs believe a shortage of key skills is the top people-related threat to growth. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that building a culture of continuous learning is currently a priority for L&D leaders.
This starts by investing in learning (tool, time, budget) and setting expectations that people should, can and will learn. When people feel that they have permission to read books, take classes (both online & offline), and give & receive feedback, they will take the opportunities to do so. The concept of continuous learning should be part of the foundation of what makes a business successful rather than viewed as benefit, afterthought, or extra activity.
People need to reskill, upskill and close skill gaps that also paved way in many way to blended learning -- with so many options and combinations of simulations, gamification, coaching, social learning, microlearning, structured learning and workshops, on the job training, field trips, shared 360 assessments, mobile learning, AR/VR, etc.