Are you devoting adequate time to as a leader to your learning?

Many of the most well known business leaders set aside at least one hour of their time in a day to have a purposeful education and practice.

You might wonder how they can afford to do that? How can they reserve at least five hours per week for deliberate learning despite their busy schedule?

The five-hour rule, as they call it takes in the form of reading, reflecting, and experimenting. All these contribute to their proven success as great learners who became great leaders.

To some of these business leaders, learning is not something that should be a struggle; Instead, learning can be integrated into your daily routine, just as eating or watching the news.

When you cultivate learning into your daily practice, you can effectively achieve “expert” status in a field in 3-5 years. Thus, you might as well start to set aside time today to build on the gains which can drive you to success for years to come.

Why great leaders are great learners?

Great leaders who have anchored in learning provide a better direction.

Being a great leader starts with oneself.

In our previous article, ‘How to Develop Authentic Leadership in an Organization’, we identified practicing self-awareness as the initial step to develop authentic leadership. It is only after you have examined your strengths and limitations, will you gain a deeper sense of what you should work on as a leader.

Humility in accepting that you don’t have all the answers opens your way of thinking that you must take steps to learn to resolve your concerns. We’re lucky that we live in the digital age, and we can search through answers with a few clicks.

Or you can also read books, attend events and conferences, invest in yourself through online courses, or participate in training programs. Some who have trouble focusing even listen to educational podcasts while working out.

It’s your call. These days, learning already takes various forms, many of which are through self-directed learning.

Once you become more confident in your knowledge, you can lead your team members better.

Exceptional leaders who have a knack for knowledge are better performers

It is in our nature, as humans, to have a thirst for more.

But for outstanding leaders, that thirst or hunger is attributed to knowledge. The longing for knowledge becomes your entrance to the world of new opportunities and exciting challenges.

When you have proper knowledge, you also become more open to whatever comes your way, even though it means taking on a risky project that will allow you to be more well-rounded and increase your team’s performance.

Acknowledging that life’s lessons are best gained through actual experiences, the best leaders are always open to possibilities.

Your knowledge will propel you to set higher and more ambitious standards that will enhance you and your team’s performance.

Effective leaders keep up with the changing times

Staying relevant is a crucial challenge among companies today.

You must keep growing and experimenting and ride on with the changes in the business environment.

Great leaders are great learners that inspire innovation. It means reaching the peak should not let you rest. Instead, use this as your leverage to drive innovation in your company, systems, products, and services.

We have all witnessed how the industry leaders decades ago in the smartphones, technology entertainment, and healthcare and insurance fell from the pedestals they were on. It shows us that using the strategies which were once thought of as ‘genius’ must be continuously redesigned.

Consistency in seeking new information and possessing learning agility is required from leaders to stay ahead of their game. A common pitfall of leaders is their fear of failure and the unknown. Recognizing that failure is part of learning is vital to experience the other side of fear.

As described by a French author and Nobel Prize winner in Literature André Gide, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Remarkable leaders learn from and through others’ experiences

Though experiences are indeed life’s perfect teachers, why go through it all if you can learn from others?

Incredible leaders know how to skip the hassle that is from picking up lessons from others’ mistakes. Listen to others’ experiences and use this to think strategically and gain a more competitive advantage.

You don’t have to risk time, money, and your team members’ skills if you understand how others climbed their way up. It will be advantageous to your company if you avoid the trial-and-error phase and save your resources for better compensation and rewards system for your team.

Wouldn’t it be a more gratifying and motivating strategy?

Excellent leaders drive team learning

Outstanding leaders understand the value of building knowledge within their team to adapt effectively to business shifts.

By realizing the advantages of continuous learning, team leaders invest more in each member’s development as they invest in themselves. It helps develop the culture of having a growth mindset that encourages the team members to achieve their full potential.

Team learning occurs when members are engaged in regular reflection and action. It is where they ask more questions, seek feedback, try new things, analyzes results, and evaluate the unexpected outcomes or errors. When leaders are boosting team learning, their teams become more adaptable and enhance their knowledge positively.

Wouldn’t it be a more gratifying and motivating strategy?

As a leader, what aspects do you need to learn? What must you focus on to drive your team?

To be a ‘future-proof business’, leaders must exhibit learning agility. The only way to stay relevant and be adaptive is when great leaders are great learners. It has been proven by the global business leaders Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg as they strive for continuous improvement.

Discover what learning practices suit you to increase your knowledge, awareness, and productivity. In turn, this will drive your team’s creativity and performance to reach success.

References:

Bhagat, Deepak. (2019, September 2). Great Leaders Never Stop Learning. LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/great-leaders-never-stop-learning-deepak-bhagat

Koeslag-Kreunen, M. Van den Bossche, P., Hoven, M., Van der Klink, M., & Gijselaers, W. (2018, August). When Leadership Powers Team Learning: A Meta-Analysis. Small Group Research, 49(4). https://doi.org/10.1177/1046496418764824

NobelPrize.org. (2021, November 14). André Gide – Biographical. Retrieved from https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1947/gide/biographical/

Roberts, Gemma. (2021, March 9). Why all great leaders need to be lifelong learners? LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-all-great-leaders-need-lifelong-learners-gemma-leigh-roberts

Simmons, Michael, Chew, Ian, & Ebata, Shizuka. (2016, July 22). Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Oprah Winfrey All Use the 5-Hour Rule. Inc. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/empact/bill-gates-warren-buffett-and-oprah-all-use-the-5-hour-rule.html

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