Research continues to suggest that those most likely to get to the top of any field are those who don’t stop learning.
Rather than resting on laurels or building a career on the same old strategies, successful leaders seek feedback and continuously learn more about themselves and the world around them. Sadly, success often leads to stagnation — the opposite of what is needed to succeed in these changing times. Learning from others, openness to new ideas, and looking beyond the expected are all characteristics of successful leaders in every field.
To continuously learn more about yourself:
- Seek feedback on your strengths and weaknesses every chance you get — and listen to it. Information about yourself is power.
- Never get defensive about feedback given to you, but if you do, don’t act like it! (“What me defensive?”) Any feedback about something you are doing – or that you did or plan to do – even if it makes you uncomfortable or it is somewhat offensive or irrelevant — may provide insights –hidden “gems” — that that can increase your self-knowledge.
Consider this . . .
Even though there may be nothing more annoying than unsolicited feedback from people you may not admire or respect, try to appreciate the fact that you can still learn from such comments. Just thank the person providing the feedback – no matter how annoying the comments may be – and try to learn from it.
Also keep this in mind:
Most of us learn the most significant lessons of our lives when we are in times of crisis or change, and it’s the same for organizations. In most cases, they also learn the most when they are in crisis. Individuals and institutions are either defeated in adverse situations, or they rise to higher heights as a result of them. In learning terminology, this crisis moment is called a “disorienting dilemma.”
So next time someone throws you a curve ball – personally or professionally – and you are “thrown for a loop,” think of it as “show time” for learning – a unique opportunity to see things differently and develop a changed perspective that provides the greatest opportunity human beings have for learning – and the one that most often leads to greater maturity and growth as a person.
- Keep learning at the forefront of your actions.
- Think “learn first” and “act second.”
- Keep an open mind.
- Assume you don’t know or assume there is more to know.
- Keep an open mind and look for opportunities to learn.
- Consider options and alternatives.
- Realize others have been there and learn from others.
- See things as experiments.
- Get feedback, seek feedback, and take feedback seriously.
- Consider your successes as past successes not as permanent rules of engagement.
- See work as a process of learning.
- Read more than you do and seek out new sources of knowledge.
- Push your boundaries of comfort and look for unique approaches.
- Rest on your laurels or think you know it all.
- Continually rely on what you have done in the past or believe your past success guarantees future success.
- Assume you know it all or that others can’t add value.
- Think creative means complicated.
- Say it can’t be done or think there can’t be another way.
- Think all or nothing.
- Rely on what worked before.
- Think someone else has all the answers.
- Believe there is a magic bullet.
- Over or under estimate the work involved, do before thinking.
- Assume thinks can’t or won’t change.