Learning something new every day is more than just a platitude—it’s a strategy to fuel growth as a leader. Knowledge increases your effectiveness and adds value to your organization. By incorporating a few simple steps into your routine, you can continuously widen your viewpoint and gain new insight.
Here are three main areas of knowledge you can focus on to make a real difference as a leader:
One of the best places to start is by looking inward. By analyzing yourself and reflecting on the decisions you have made throughout the day, you can begin to identify areas where you can grow. A great exercise to help you with this is called the “Five Whys” Root Cause Analysis, which requires you to ask yourself a series of “why?” questions in order to understand the real issue and/or motivation behind your actions.
For example, let’s say you snapped at a vendor in front of your employees. You can start by asking, “Why did I snap?” and work your way down from there.
You snapped because the vendor was late with a delivery. Why did you need the delivery sooner? The project was late. Why was the project late? And so on. Doing this helps you understand your actions, make better decisions in the future and encourages self-improvement.
Your Company and Team
As a leader, there are many small decisions that occur in your business without your involvement. When you’re trying to learn something new about your company, take the time to listen and observe. For example, take note of decisions your team makes during meetings. Even learning about something as trivial as why the cleaning staff has switched to a new brand of disinfectant can tell you how your team thinks about how the business works and what issues they may face.
Take the time to learn more about your team members individually. Your knowledge and interest will not only improve morale but can also be used to assign tasks accordingly and bring out the best in your team. Speak to your employees and pay close attention to their communications. If you need ideas, here are 10 authentic ways to build relationships with your team.
Finally, train your mind to constantly search for new information about your industry. Reading through articles and research papers is a great habit, but it’s somewhat passive. Make it a point to attend conferences, seminars, workshops and trade shows to better understand what’s happening in your industry. It’s great to be able to speak with others in your industry and interact with information in a hands–on setting. Additionally, take it a step further and learn something about one of your competitors!
Learning about your industry is most likely the easiest area to grow and improve on first, rather than delving into yourself or your team, because you likely already have these habits. It’s natural to focus on industry knowledge as a leader. However, learning about your team is the most readily actionable knowledge.
So, What Will You Learn Today?
Over the week, write down every new thing you have observed, from small details to big ideas, and see how much information you have gathered. By continuously learning about yourself, your team, and your industry, you can maximize your potential as a leader. With these tips and a bit of practice, you can master the art of learning something new every day.