Why Learning Makes You a Better Leader

Why Learning Makes You a Better Leader

February 10, 2016

Being a great leader today draws on the ability to constantly adjust our way of thinking, learning, doing and being. If we want to be great leaders, we must feel good living in a state of constant change. For many business professionals the half-life of any skill is about five years, and as leaders, we bear the responsibility to continually renew our ideas and learn new skills. Add to that the constant stream of new studies you need to be aware of about diet and nutrition that your shoppers will confront you about.

According to digital coach and consultant, Harold Jarche, as we attempt to transition into a networked creative economy, we need leaders who promote learning and who master fast, relevant, and autonomous learning. If work is learning and learning is the work, then leadership should be all about enabling learning.

The Deloitte study, Global Human Capital Trends 2105, highlighted that 85 percent of respondents cited learning as being either important or very important. Yet, according to the report, more companies say they are unprepared to address this challenge. So how will you as an aspiring leader or leader of your team foster learning in yourself and your retail team?

Jarche has a great framework called the Personal Knowledge Mastery – and describes it as a method for individuals to take control of their professional development through a continuous process of seeking, sensing-making, and sharing.

Seek is about learning and keeping up to date. In a world overflowing with information, we need smart filters to sort the information. As an RD, this can include making sure the information you are gathering to further your business skills and your nutrition knowledge is the most credible.

Sense includes reflection and putting into practice what we learn. It is a process based on critical thinking where we weave together our thoughts, previous experiences, impressions and feelings to make meaning of them. Writing a blog for your store and keeping notes for your employees are two examples of what will help you cement and make sense of your ideas.

Share is about exchanging resources, ideas, and experiences with our networks as well as collaborating with colleagues. Sharing is a contributing process where we teach others, work together, iterate and collectively learn from important insights and reflections. Share builds respect and trust. Attending regular RD conferences and staying connected with the stores' management teams are two ways to help you share and spread your ideas and influence. 

What about your staff? As a leader you’ll also want to encourage your staff to love constant learning. Give your staff new challenges by delegating. Learning and mastering new skills will give your staff a sense of accomplishment and demonstrates that you value them as part of the organization.