Leaders are learners; learners are leaders.

The more you learn, the more you grow. The more you grow, the more your influence can increase. Influence, as a leader is paramount, as you look to build your sustainable business.

We know and acknowledge that learning is important. However,  the more important question to ask is:

“What is it that leaders should learn in order to grow as an effective leader, manager, or business owner?”

There are many things that we could learn, but they may not all be applicable for where we are now. Let me suggest to you, from much experience and research, three of the key areas of learnings for those who want to grow in their effectiveness in business.

To Grow Yourself, You Need To Know Yourself

How well do you know yourself? You may say, “I know myself well.” However, if I asked those who work with you to describe you, your strengths, and your limitations, would there be any surprises for you?

We all have blind points. That’s why it’s important to have a good and honest inner circle, not just made up of yes-people, but those who want the very best for you, and therefore, are prepared to speak into your life and provide feedback on your style of leadership.

Self-leadership is one of the most challenging areas we will all face.

Here are 8 questions to ask yourself to lead yourself to be effective:

  • Would you go out of your way to follow yourself? Why is this?
  • What are your strengths and limitations?
  • When was the last time you learned something new about yourself? What have you done with this information?
  • Do you tend to make decisions based on emotion or wisdom?
  • Consider your last three big decisions. Good or bad? How did they go?
  • What motivates you?
  • What gets you excited about waking up each morning?
  • We all have things that trigger bad reactions. What triggers a bad reaction from you? They are based on our innate fears based on our personality style Discovering what those are can help you navigate them and grow from them.
  • What are you actively doing about your strengths and limitations?

So, the first area of learning is to learn yourself. The more you know about yourself, strengths, limitations, the more your leadership can grow.

Leaders Should Learn About Their Teams

Are you a team player? Can you lead your team well? How well do you know those that work with you? John Maxwell says, “Teamwork will make the dream work.” Teamwork is imperative for the success of any organisation. Teamwork includes areas such as communication, commitment, collaboration, to name a few.

Find out more: A Leader’s Guide To Team Building

With teamwork, everyone is together on the purpose and vision of the organisation. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being great), how would you rate your effectiveness in leading the team?

Effective leaders learn about the skills and talents each team member has. As a business consultant, I can assure you that many skills and talents remain dormant within team members because the leader/manager has failed to recognise and develop them.

This is often one of the reasons for staff turnover. People leave because they don’t feel that they’re being fully utilised and stretched. Do you recognise this? Has this happened to you?

Leaders are learners, and they learn about their teams.

Key Questions To Help You Learn and Grow Your Team

What active steps can you take to learn more about your team? What makes them feel fulfilled?

How can you use this knowledge?

As a leader/manager, in which areas of communication would you like to grow in?

Why is this one so important to you?

Leaders Should Learn About Their Customers/Marketplace and Clients

The constant learning of your marketplace and your customers’ desires will allow you to stayi relevant to them. We all know of brands that once were strong, High Street names, but sadly are no longer around.

There may be any reasons for this, but one reason is that their service/product did not keep up with changing customer’s desires. Today, we often buy on desire, not just need. Look at the fashion industry and mobile phone industry as examples.

What are you learning about your customer’s desires? I’m not asking what you learnt, when you first started your business, or even a couple of years ago? But what are you hearing today?

Listen to the whispers of your customers as they help you to stay future-proof.

Without customers, businesses don’t succeed. Research would suggest that 50% of business fail within the first five years. Look after your customers very well. Otherwise, somebody else will.

Questions To Help You Learn About Your Customers’ Desires

What is your process for listening to your customer’s desires?

How are you acting on what you are learning?

In what areas will your organisation need to adapt in the next six months to remain relevant to your customer?

Find out more: 5 Connecting Principles and Practices To Increase Your Influence

As an entrepreneur/leader/manager/leadership is vital. I often describe leadership in the following way, “Leadership is the ability to lead others to places they could not have gone without you.”

Leaders are learners. Effective leaders work on the following areas of learning:

  1. Themselves;
  2. The team;
  3. Their customer/community/industry.

Employ this model of learning in your leadership. It will increase your effectiveness as a leader. In turn, this will help you to build a sustainable business.