If You’re Not Learning Then You’re Not Leading: Why Constant Learning is the Key to Great Leadership

Confidence, focus, integrity, inspiration; these are all key traits of a good leader. But above all of these fundamental qualities, the most important is perhaps the ability to learn. Being able to absorb new information, new concepts and new ideas, whilst continually advancing your intelligence is something that will prove vital to your leadership range.

Recently, Harvard Business Review published an article titled ‘The Best Leaders are Insatiable Learners’, citing an interesting speech by author and professor, John W. Gardner, back in 1990. His speech discusses a leader’s responsibility for “self-renewal”, claiming that most business leaders are “stale”. These words are still relevant today, and although often overlooked as a skill, learning is a highly effective component of leadership. Remarkable leaders must be continuous, lifelong learners, and here’s why.

Stay ahead of the curve

We must never stop learning, in work or in everyday life. In order to be successful and to lead successfully, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Be one step ahead of competition. And never let your eyes off the end goal. The only way to do this is to keep going to events, seminars, workshops and conferences that are related to your field; and to keep researching, networking and checking what your competitors are doing. In any race, someone has to be in the lead. So let it be you, your brand and your business.

Set an example

If it’s important for your team to brush up on their skills then lead by example. The way you set about your own personal development should be modelled for others to follow. So continue learning to inspire others to want to learn more too. The benefits for your department or business as a whole will be invaluable as employees improve their knowledge and bring new skillsets to the table.

Adapt to change

The best way to keep up with the changing business world is to keep learning. If things don’t stay the same, neither should you. Just consider the incredible transformation of e-commerce over the past decade or the very recent and mind-blowing growth of social media (and its powerful hold on the new generation). These are revolutionary changes that have shaped businesses across all industries and sectors, on an international level. In order to lead your team on the right path, it’s important to be aware of evolving channels and platforms so that you can adapt and get your team to adapt too.

Be better at your job

Ultimately, learning just makes us better people. Better as managers, better as colleagues, better as humans. And it’s no mystery that if you’re good at your job, good in your field, and just an all-round good person that people will like, admire and respect you. Making you a valued leader, one with influence in the workplace. Keeping your brain ticking over and learning new things will open up your mind and keep you well-rounded across all areas of management. If you can keep improving to be better at your job, you will inspire others to do the same and work hard to perfect their art.