According to the recently released Workforce 2020 study, more than half of employees interviewed feel their leader lacks the necessary skills to effectively manage their staff. A majority of employees also said they don’t receive enough feedback on their performance from managers. These telling statistics point to some significant gaps in employees’ perception of their leaders’ ability to be successful in the future.
Similarly, Harvard Business Review recently published an article titled: The Best Leaders Are Insatiable Learners. It cites a seminal business speech delivered in 1990 by author and professor, John W. Gardner. Focusing on the topic of a leader’s personal responsibility for “self-renewal,” Gardner argued that most business leaders are “stale.”
Gardner’s words still ring true today. He says,“Be interested…boredom is the secret ailment of large-scale organizations.”Through his words, Gardner encouraged business leaders to keep learning, growing and changing. “There is a myth that learning is for young people. But as the proverb says, ‘It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.’”
Although separated by nearly 15 years, both Gardner’s speech and the Workforce 2020 study demonstrate a key principle – that great leadership requires a deep, personal commitment to continuous learning. Leaders at all levels must hold themselves accountable to seek knowledge from new sources, push themselves to learn new skills, and to embrace a broader range of perspectives.
At Infinis Consulting, in our Leadership Excellence professional development course, we teach participants that intentions and behaviors matter. Why? Because employees are not just listening to what their leaders say; they are also watching what they do. Today’s employees also expect that their leaders will teach them new skills.
The bottom line: Leaders who make a commitment to their own personal and professional growth (e.g. the intention) and follow through by teaching others (e.g the behavior) are demonstrating to their employees that they value continuous learning – for themselves, for their employees, and for the future of the organization.
To know more about our Leadership Excellence courses, contact us.