Being a Consistent Learner Helps Ace Mentorship Skills
The hierarchical ladder may end, but the learning never stops
A crucial part of human development is working to improve oneself throughout life. It is, in fact, a vast process which with relentless brushing develops the confidence to tackle new tasks, enabling one to constantly touch new heights. When moving up the ladder, one grows in the profession and new roles and responsibilities start occupying the plate. In that process, the learning gear takes a halt.
Being the leader of a company involves numerous responsibilities from making major corporate decisions, acting as the single point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations, managing the overall operations, to being the ambassador of the company. It is at this stage that various tasks related to the growth and benefit of an organization, seem more important than sparing time to learn or pursue a passion. To polish a flair for writing and communication or even listening to a specific genre of music then becomes secondary. The key is to incorporate these tasks somewhere in between the tasks at hand. Times like these are when one needs to prioritize learning despite the lack of breathing room in the daily schedule. The options are numerous. Listen to audio books while driving to and from work, catch up on some reading during lunch, incorporate a short training video into the schedule for every day, thereby only devoting 30 minutes a day, adding up to greater learnings in a week or month.
Where to Focus?
For a leader to be successful and ace mentorship skills, a culture of learning needs to be instilled within the organization as well as in personal life. One should constantly be aware of the signs of complacency. The driving forces to avoid stagnant leadership are to keep improving and innovating by seeking out newer challenges. Every time an executive begins to feel that work is going into auto-pilot, she or he should expand the role, learn a new skill, or even mentor another apprentice. Additionally, being self-aware bridges the learning gap to a great extent. But sometimes, this goes against the grind possibly because the right approach wasn't adopted. One important aspect to consider here is that each person learns differently from another. Some read, some listen, and some study others, while some learn in short spurts. But what is the right learning approach for an individual? Focus on what triggers interest and that can be used as a base for the greater learning to happen. This will build interest and reap positive results, helping polish one's leadership skill.
Accepting the Facts
Consider taking a new approach. Acceptance of one's role and bringing an attitude adjustment helps break the inertia. To maintain an open, collaborative and honest working environment, a leader must realise their place in the learning cycle. In doing so, it makes sharing and exploration of ideas and concepts easier. Just like time does not stand still, so doesn't learn at any stage. On absorbing and accepting that fact, it becomes easier to essentially make time because then that effort is not arbitrary. With this new approach of embracing change, it promotes in building closer links between organizational groups. Many leaders choose weekends to unwind with other executives from the industry and discuss various professional issues and insights. This widens the scope of knowledge of each leader.
A stereotypical perception of people towards leaders is that they are someone with vast knowledge; one who motivates and inspires. But all this without a sense of awareness would lead to nothingness. Therefore, the foremost step should be in aiming to be abreast with activities in and out of the organization. It is only then that one can evolve their mentorship ability, inspire and generate a mass learning culture. To quote Chris Hadfield, "Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others' success, and then standing back and letting them shine."
Whether it is picking up new languages, keeping up to date with the newest of software and tools, or undergoing periodic leadership training and executive coaching, there are a plethora of learning options for those at the top.
We leaders may have a mountain task of preserving the operations of an organization and in that process, other tasks may take a back seat. Therefore, it is essential to sow the seed of "making time to learn' in order to stand out as prominent figures. In being a consistent learner, one not only acquires a greater knowledge but also encourages and motivates people to watch and learn from them. It is only then that the true job of a leader is accomplished.
After all, you may have reached the top of the professional ladder, but the learning never stops.