Given the constant, and often overwhelming, rate of change that senior executives and business leaders are facing, ongoing learning is not optional – it is essential!
Continuous learning and the development of new skills and knowledge are key components for remaining competitive, relevant and qualified to lead. The new skill set for today’s leaders requires more than an upgrade of technical and core business skills; it also includes “soft” skills that improve and strengthen communication, trust and relationship building skills.
Here are three suggestions for leaders and executives that are committed to personal and professional development.
Objective self-scrutiny that leads to increased self-awareness can reveal where you fall short and point to the skills requiring development. Many C-suite leaders have blind spots that are limiting their effectiveness and impact. A wide range of resources can be utilized to gain insight into personality and communication styles, innate strengths, emotional and relational awareness. Internal HR departments can provide resources and information, as can a coach or business advisor.
Feedback and mentoring
The adage that “feedback is the breakfast of champions” still rings true. Without objective feedback, our faults and weaknesses cannot be improved or addressed. Seek input from your boss, team and peers to find areas you need to improve. Also consider asking someone you admire or respect for advice or mentoring. They can be within or outside your organization.
Ongoing education and special assignments
Executive education provides access to new theories and best practices and also creates a network of new contacts. Special assignments or international transfers can create a global network of contacts and resources as well as a fresh perspective on how business is done in other cultures and geographic areas. Job assignments outside your area of expertise are a great way to gain exposure to fresh ideas, new markets, and even disruptive technologies.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. ~ Darwin