The Benefits Of Continuous Learning
No matter what profession you are in, the learning never really stops. Whether it's training in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, safe-guarding, leadership development, mindset, resilience or furthering your professional qualifications, there are plenty of things to learn to help you master new skills and improve your performance.
And there's something about mastering a new skill or gaining new knowledge that just feels so good. Research shows that being open to, and undertaking, regular personal and professional development is good for more than just hard skills.
Learning throughout our lives builds confidence, self-esteem and autonomy; increases life-satisfaction and wellbeing, and boosts our belief in our own abilities and competence. All of which can help to strengthen mental resilience by providing a wider set of skills and experience on which to draw when times are tough.
In addition, if you combine the learning by attending a class, course or group, then you are also presented with the opportunity to build relationships and connect with others. Another tick for boosting wellbeing and positivity.
Love of Learning As A Strength
According to the VIA Institute on Character, 'Love of Learning' is a strength within the virtue category of wisdom, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. It is defined as, 'A passion for learning, a desire to learn just for learning’s sake.'
It is often accompanied by curiosity; with the key difference being that curiosity often requires much energy and a drive to gather information, whereas the lover of learning is often more contemplative.
Love of learning is a strength that many employers try to foster in their employees. Research shows that it has important motivational consequences because it helps people persist through challenges, setbacks and negative feedback.
Learning Drives Success
Successful people are often in learning mode, and inspirational leaders and chief execs often cite a drive and openness to learning as the backbone of their success.
Their confidence, combined with their curiosity, encourages them to constantly seek feedback on their work and search for new, better ways to learn and improve.
They view problems, challenges, conflicts and tensions as valuable opportunities to learn.
Rather than perceiving their lack of knowledge with fear or shame, they actively seek out opportunities to grow - always learning, modifying and improving themselves.
In my opinion, this openness to self-development and willingness to admit when you make a mistake, or don't know something - and then doing something about it - is inspiring and actually makes leaders seem more human.
This is important, because it creates a culture of psychological safety, encouraging a growth mindset, ambition and the development of these desirable skills in all employees. And, as all successful CEO's know;
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Besides, there is nothing less inspirational for employees than working for leaders who believe they know it all and do not need to learn new skills, or those who worry what other people might think of them if they admit they don't know everything. This kind of fixed mindset can set a precedent of a 'you've either got it or not' thinking in an organisation, increasing fear and lowering self-esteem and productivity. After all, why bother trying if learning isn't going to get you anywhere?
‘Research has found with love of learning, one of the best ways to build it up is curiosity,’ he says. ‘Ask yourself, what am I passionate about, what am I curious about, what am I interested in? And then ask yourself where that leads you.’
Building A CEO Mindset
Here are three things you can do to build your love of learning and strengthen your 'CEO mindset':
1. Seek out and be open to balanced feedback
Feedback on your performance, skills and knowledge is crucial for knowing where you need to improve. But note that I said balanced feedback. Knowing what your strengths are and what you do well (and celebrating that) is just as important as knowing what to improve. In fact, research shows that playing to your strengths can be more impactful than working on your lesser used strengths/weaknesses.
2. Engage your curiosity
Sometimes learning for the sake of it, rather than just focusing on building 'work' skills, can wider your experience and expose you to new perspectives and opinions. If you are curious about something, buy an audio book, take a course, or arrange to meet with an expert to exchange viewpoints. Be open to learning new things about life in general.
3. Increase self-awareness
Self-awareness is 'the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection' and self-awareness theory states that you (the thinker) are separate and apart from your thoughts. This means that by learning how you think, and identifying the thought traps you fall into, you can improve not only your mindset, but also create greater alignment between your actions and your standards; resulting in better overall performance.
Coaching is a great way to set aside regular time for personal and professional self-reflection, and can increase self-awareness, improve mindset and boost performance. It can also provide accountability for personal and professional development and help you set goals and create a strategy for success.
You can find out more about my coaching services for professionals, executive and entrepreneurs by clicking here to visit my website.
I will be writing about four more key elements that can help build a CEO mindset in my next blog, so make sure you click the button below and sign up to my newsletter for future blog updates.