“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” ~ Pele

Learning might occur both in our personal and our professional lives, and enhances our understanding of the world around us, provides us with more and better opportunities and improves the quality of our lives.

In business, committing to ongoing professional development and striving for lifelong learning is critical to your success. If you want to be a successful and inspirational leader, you need to make sure you are not making these top 5 mistakes:

  1. Failing to become a lifelong learner and paying attention to how you can bring value to an organisation. These days, it is ‘grow or go’.
  2. Failing to grab the learning opportunities that many companies provide for their employees.
  3. Failing to have an open mind and being ready to learn something new very single day (yes, EVERY SINGLE DAY).
  4. Failing to grasp the concept of ‘teamness’, rather than the holistic outcome of the team. Everybody can learn from each other.
  5. Failing to understand the importance of learning ‘soft skills’ once you are leading a team (or even an entire company).

As a supervisor, manager or leader you need to understand that the hard skills (technical skills to complete a specific task) you’ve learned in your early years in the workforce become less important as you move up the career ladder. What you need to master now are soft skills (personal attributes to interact effectively and harmoniously with others). Although these skills are labelled as ‘soft’ they are often the hardest to learn but most beneficial as they are the glue that hold together the technical processes.

Soft skills are generally undervalued and ripped out of formal training packages around the world. Labelling essential skills such as leadership, time and stress management, communication strategies, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, resolving conflicts and many more as ‘soft’, whether we like it or not, lessens their value.

The key for a successful manager lies in his/her ability and attitude to demonstrate soft skills, the personal attributes to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. I appreciate that for example really good Finance or Operations Managers feel frustrated when they discover that in order to become a true leader in their field, building relationships and mastering communication skills are more important than hard skills. Technical skills may get you the job, but soft skills will make or break you as a leader.

So, I urge you to have an open mind for these skills. Knowledge is the primary source of value in our world today, and your ability to devote the necessary time and energy to learning will determine your success as a leader. Read a few hours each day, like most successful people do, attend conventions and sessions available to you, enrol in online courses on a regular basis, subscribe to insightful blog feeds, download ebooks or audio books, etc. etc. The options nowadays are really endless. Then implement the newly acquired knowledge in you life.

 

Think about someone who is willing to learn. Imagine the quality of life someone like this has. They don’t have to be right all the time. They are happy to learn new and better things. They are information machines: “If there is a better way, I want to know about it, and I am going to use it. Because I want to learn and I am committed to my growth.” And then the integration of it into the ever-expanding wealth of understanding of themselves and the world around them!

“The best investment you can make is in yourself.” ~ Warren Buffet