Why is lifelong learning a must for leaders?

Those who hold positions of leadership must continually strive for improvement, to expand their knowledge base and to set an example for others. Whether they choose to attend short courses and training seminars on a regular basis, read widely on topics of personal interest or attend annual conferences, there is no doubt that all leaders must be prepared for lifelong learning (and encourage their team members to do so as well).

Here are the four compelling reasons why further learning is a must.

1. Fostering creativity and innovation

We need no reminding of the importance of creativity and innovation for success in leadership. It is well known that great ideas are generated when we are exposed to new ideas from a variety of sources (referred to as cross pollination) which ultimately leads to new insights and breakthroughs. To quote Linus Pauling (the American biochemist, peace activist and winner of two Nobel Prizes) “the best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas”. Encourage your team members to generate as many ideas as possible, even ideas that seem implausible or worthless may be future gems.

2. The importance of a well-rounded leader

The well-rounded leader recognizes his own mistakes, is aware of his own strengths and weaknesses and communicates his vision clearly to those around him. Achieving this state of mind requires constant learning and development in many areas, such as communication, conflict resolution, and knowledge of human behaviour. Attending seminars and mentoring sessions are excellent ways to improve skills that are lacking and to improve the way you interact with those around you. John C. Maxwell (one of Americas top coaches and leadership experts) has quoted, “Your goal as a leader should be to work hard enough and strategically enough so that you have more to give and share with others”. Ultimately, team members want to interact with an energetic leader who is likeable and friendly and who understands their needs.

3. Networking

The chance to network and make valuable connections should provide valuable incentive to pursue further learning. Insights may be gained from meetings and conferences, courses of study or through groups outside of work. Invite a new friend or mentor for a meal and try to actively listen without interrupting or making judgement. To quote Zig Ziglar “You can have everything in life if you just help other people to get what they want”. Effort made toward further learning and development can have extremely positive results.

4. Stay informed

Staying up to date and current with recent events is essential for effective leadership. By doing so you may confidently voice your opinion, be a part of the global community, and engage others in interesting and engaging conversation. In addition, you may increase your employment opportunities or chance for promotion, learn interesting facts about new cultures and be well prepared to answer questions on a broad range of topics. Learning new things is fun. Gaining new knowledge and skills can (and should) be fun. It can be a chance to escape from the mundane routine and gain a different perspective on the issue that may be troubling you. It is often exciting to engage in a new topic and it can also do wonders for your general health, self esteem and confidence.

If you’re a leader or working towards being one, we’re here to help at Customised Training. We offer accredited leadership qualifications (such as the Diploma of Leadership and Management or the Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management), networking opportunities and professional development courses.

Give one of our Course Advisors a call on 1300 275 282 or email info@customisedtraining.edu.au and we’ll work with you to identify the next step in your lifelong learning as a leader.

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