Leaders as Learners

September 30, 2018

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – Marcel Proust

In a world that never stops changing, great leaders never stop learning!

Companies are challenged to out think the competition, find a unique view point about the future and get there first...and no surprise, employees expect employers to continually reinvent themselves.

Consider this...

  • 90 percent of CEOs think their company is facing disruptive change driven by digital technologies.
  • “Information is knowledge, knowledge is power.” The exploitation of big data drives faster decisions and is critical to competitive advantage.
  • Meanwhile, the average tenure in a job is 4 years with millennials changing roles every 18 months!

Lifelong learning is the new normal and the defining question for great leadership these days... ARE YOU LEARNING AS FAST AS THE WORLD IS CHANGING?

Learning new things is about exposure to new ideas. To keep up and to learn faster we are going to have to think differently.

Whether you are keeping up with the new tools and terminology in your industry (spoiler alert – if you aren’t developing capabilities in digital and data, you are selling yourself short!), preparing for life changes, looking to achieve peak performance in your discipline or simply setting new goals for your own personal & professional development, it is critical to embrace a learning mindset.

Couple thoughts on Leaders as Learners.

1)     The best learners have the widest field of vision. Steve Jobs spent less time talking about software and computer hardware than he did music and arts. Some of the best computer scientists in the world are musicians, artists and historians. We aren’t going to learn faster seeking inspiration from the same experiences, people, ideas as everyone else. We need to look more broadly.

2)     Successful learners are not loners. The most powerful ideas come from unexpected places – the quiet genius on your floor, the loyal customer, the direct report who is eager to teach you if you just ask for input. This requires a new mindset…humility to learn from everyone you encounter. Nobody alone learns as quickly as everyone together.

3)     Skillful learners model the way. While the need for continuous learning is apparent, leaders aren’t just learning for themselves. They are setting the tone and modeling behavior for those who are following them. You are all leaders – by title, influence, reputation – and people look to you. You can’t expect growth and development of your team or your organization, if you don’t value continuous learning yourself.


Training, networking, mentoring, reading, seeking feedback are ways that help people take their learning to the next level. Formal coaching is also a very powerful way to enhance the lifelong learning process. Engaging coaching resources and building a coaching culture can create a lifestyle that will lead to growth and fulfillment.

Effective leadership is a journey. By committing yourself to a continuous learning mindset, you are committing to being a better leader.

As a coach, I encourage you and can support you in making this choice today!

Tricia Manning © 2024 All Rights Reserved.