Here on Conscious Leaders, we’ve previously emphasized the importance of building a coaching culture. Coaching your employees helps support continuous learning and training at every level of your organization. In the long run, this can help you achieve both rapid growth and high-level performance.
Yet coaching shouldn’t apply to your employees alone. As a leader, you yourself should use a growth mindset and strive to get better at your management and business skills. Accept you don’t have all the answers — then seek to find them, always. This is Carol Dweck’s main argument for the growth mindset in her book Mindset: the New Psychology of Success.
Still not convinced? Below are 3 reasons why you should keep learning — and how they ultimately prove that learning never stops, no matter what your level is.
The market is always changing
The world of business never stays the same and your leadership is what will help you adapt. For example, customers needed to go online to procure virtually any product or service during the pandemic. Companies responded by digitally transforming their operations.
There’s consequently a strong case for those who are already leaders — like yourself — to continually broaden their knowledge of their industries and of organizational leadership. There are many ways you can get started. You can read books like The Effective Executive and The Leadership Challenge. You can watch TED Talks like Simon Sinek's Start with Why and John Clarkson's How Should A CEO Lead.
Many leaders at the executive level are also going back to business school to upskill. The rise of remote degrees has made flexible learning a viable option for those who are far into their career but still want to learn. These online degrees, across all areas of business, are just as valid as traditional courses and offer the same benefits. Leaders who want to improve their employee management, for example, may consider upskilling in human resource management. An online human resource management degree today will include internships, projects, and even simulations that help build a realistic and hands-on experience, giving students and leaders alike an immersive education. Some universities also offer dedicated change management degrees that tackle the complex and ever-dynamic business environment. Regardless of what method you choose to learn, you’ll become more capable at creating business strategies that increase your relevance in your industry. This will help you discover new opportunities for growth.
There's a lot to learn from the people you manage
Lessons don’t always come from the top. Whether it’s employee feedback on your leadership or simply something observed in passing, the knowledge you glean from your employees can only help you better yourself as a leader.
You can learn how to listen to employees and empathize with them. For example, you can learn that experience doesn’t denote skill, as inexperienced employees may be more proficient in a given area than their seasoned counterparts. Most important is that you’ll learn more about what makes your employees tick — and how you can use that information to move your company forward.
In her book, Dweck emphasizes that the most brilliant CEOs and leaders run their companies in a nurturing and caring way — so take time to sit down with your employees. Ask them about their career goals and what drives them to work in your organization. In the process, you’ll learn more about how better to manage them in line with both their strengths and overall organizational growth.
There's always room for improvement
If there’s any phrase that shouldn’t be in your vocabulary, it’s “good enough.” Pushing for and achieving excellence is a matter of trying and learning and trying again — the basis of the very same growth mindset Dweck advocates.
Taking risks is one way to get started. Feature innovation and creativity in your business strategies and see where you end up. Microsoft debuted the Xbox at a time when the PlayStation was unbeatable — and it ended up becoming one of the most popular gaming consoles in the world. The lessons is to not be afraid to push the envelope.
More importantly, be a vulnerable leader. Accept feedback and take responsibility for your own mistakes. By holding yourself accountable and putting in the effort to rectify your shortcomings, you can emerge from the process as a better leader.
Learning is for everyone — including leaders. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start learning, As Dweck writes in Mindset: “Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”
Contributed by J Peterson for consciousleaders.us