Good Leaders are Good Learners

Woman reading by Christian Morillo

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” Albert Einstein

I don’t just view this statement from Einstein as a quote; I view it as a way of life.

Curiosity is one of my core values, which to me means not only the willingness to learn, but the proactive search for new ideas, information, opinions and changes. I take the term “lifetime learner” quite literally.

Reading, listening and conversations are my primary sources of learning. Reading is a daily practice, including books, newspapers, magazines and blogs. I listen to podcasts, panels and speakers whenever possible, and every day I have the opportunity to listen to and learn from other people: clients, colleagues, friends and associates.

At Momentum, we work on active and generous listening, which denotes listening with a focus on what might be possible, what is important to the speaker and what you can learn. Conversation is a 2+ way exchange of ideas necessitating active listening and self-checking to ensure you’re in learning, not broadcasting mode.

Each of us learns in different ways from different sources and being a good learner takes practice.

As a leader, it is imperative that you practice continual learning. Good leaders are good learners. You have demonstrated learned knowledge and skills in getting to a leadership position, but now is when you need to develop a laser focus on learning more.

The world, your industry, and your marketplace are not static. Change occurs at exponential rates and it is literally your job as a leader to develop what psychologist Howard Gardner calls “searchlight intelligence,” to constantly scan for information and clues as to what is coming, make connections, challenge your assumptions, and prepare your organization for the future.

Yes, it’s “the vision thing!”

It is also your responsibility to promote learning within your organization. Not only by setting an example, but by institutionalizing learning: making learning resources available and required, hiring proactive learners, positioning mistakes as learning opportunities, and measuring employees on becoming progressively better and more knowledgeable, not measuring them against one another.

Early in my career, I was asked in an interview “what have you learned recently?” – a great question! I co-opted the question as one of my standard inquiries when I interviewed for new staff members and found it to be a highly effective tool.

So…what have YOU learned recently?

Please email me so I can learn from you!


FUNDAMENTAL #17: BE DEDICATED TO PERSONAL GROWTH . Be a lifetime learner. Challenge yourself to take risks and operate outside of your comfort zone. Solicit feedback and learn from mistakes. Understand the nature of causing breakthroughs and live it as a discipline. Believe in Magic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *