“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
These words, spoken by John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, will live through the ages because they reflect the reality of being a truly wonderful leader.
From my perspective, I can also add that being a leader is a privilege and you cannot waste it because of a know-it-all attitude.
As an owner of a blog, I manage a team of freelancers who help me maintain my website, contribute content, create visuals and do many other cool things I wouldn’t be able to do by myself. Every day, I learn something new from my team and they inspire me to discover new realms of knowledge that seemed distant to me before.
Such an attitude towards continuous learning in leadership helped me grow my website from a small blog to a content hub that hosts many professional writers from the entire world.
And today, I want to encourage other leaders to keep learning as well and share some resources that helped me uplevel my leadership skills and remain open-minded to continuous education.
Forums And Conferences
It’s always a good idea to use someone else’s experience as a learning opportunity. Forums and conferences are the perfect options in this case, as you get to meet outstanding people, learn about their innovative business ideas and adopt some leadership skills from them.
In my experience with public events, I got the best learning opportunity last year during the Small Business Leadership Conference.
There I met with Chuck Dinsmore, the co-founder of Data Clinique Market Intelligence, who shared some advice on making my small business more agile with technology. Since that, my team and I have been committed to automating some business processes and making our workflow more technology-friendly. I should also say, Chuck’s advice already saved me a lot of money.
My point here is that attending leadership events is never a waste of time, even if you’re doing it remotely because of the pandemic. Thus, I’ve picked some useful public event suggestions for the upcoming year, where every leader will have an exclusive opportunity to uplevel their skills. Because of the pandemic, these conferences allow a certain number of people to attend for free and you can do it from any corner of the world:
Gartner CIO Leadership Forum – this is a great option for those who want to make their business more focused on innovation and remain competitive in the digital age.
The Global Leadership Summit – during this event, you will be able to meet leaders from all corners of the world and learn about how your business can contribute to global wellness.
2021 Foundation Leadership Forum – one of the topics of this forum will be business growth in terms of effective employee management. You will also be able to learn about disruptive technologies that are going to transform the business world in the near future.
If you’re a small business owner like me, I would also recommend attending next year’s Small Business Leadership Conference. This is an amazing opportunity for small business owners to learn core leadership skills and gain useful connections for their business’s strategic growth.
This is not your typical go-to resource for upleveling leadership skills, but you’d be surprised how many useful insights you can collect just from listening to a podcast.
Leadership podcasts have the same goal as conferences and forums – they host guests who share leadership advice and knowledge – which you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. The main perk of podcasts, however, is that they are completely free.
Here are my top five podcast picks that I consume on a weekly basis:
The Tim Ferris Show. This is a leading podcast in this category, with stellar guests like Hugh Jackman, Dr. Jane Goodall and others. One of my favorite episodes featured Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify, where he talked about the mental models for top performance, gave tips on boosting employee productivity and shares stories behind Shopify’s success.
How I Built This with Guy Raz. If you like storytelling podcasts, this one can be a great choice for you. The host invites the leaders of both small businesses and big corporations, who share their stories about successes and failures.
The Nice Guys on Business. Hosted by two entrepreneurs Doug Sand ler and Strickland Bonner, this podcast gives you a fresh perspective on old-fashioned leadership strategies and inspires leaders to move towards innovation. One of my favorite episodes featured Tristan Bond, the CEO of Practice Acceleration, where he shares amazing tips on running a scalable and profitable business.
HR Happy Hour. Although it’s not about leadership per se, this podcast helped me become a better manager for my team. From this podcast, I learned how to maintain high employee engagement while my team was working from home during the pandemic. I still keep listening to it, as it is a credible source on HR news, new payroll systems and other knowledge I can apply as a leader.
Business Wars. I find this podcast particularly interesting because it has a business vs. business format and compares two companies from different perspectives. As a result, you get a great source of business lessons that you can use as a leader too.
Another reason why I think podcasts can bring you a lot of learning opportunities is the number of useful motivational book recommendations shared both by hosts and their guests. For instance, from the episode with Daniel Ek, I learned about Humble Leadership by Edgar H. Schein. This is a book about nurturing openness and trust in your relationships with your team and about the value of the contribution your employees are making to the success of your business.
Online Education Platforms
Of course, improving your leadership skills is not possible without investing in continuous education. Thankfully, today, you don’t even have to leave the apartment to take a course from a university, for which you can even receive a certificate.
Different online educational platforms offer a variety of courses, mostly for free. But I recommend paying attention to who’s the creator of the course and which leadership skills this course caters to.
Here are the top three leadership courses that helped me become a more skilled leader:
The Manager’s Toolkit by the University of London. Created by Dr. Chris Drewberry, this course turns business owners into true leaders. There, I had an opportunity to improve my decision-making and management skills. Dr. Drewberry also created a section about diversity recruitment and why it drives progress in today’s business world.
Agile Leadership Principles and Practices. I took this course after Chuck Dinsmore’s recommendation at the Small Business Leadership Conference. This course is aimed at implementing agile technological solutions in every business process, from employee management to product development.
Exercising Leadership by Harvard University. This is an amazing course to help leaders that struggle to maintain their team’s productivity during a crisis. However, this course takes more effort to complete, as it requires writing a paper, listening to seminars and doing project work together with other students.
On some online education platforms, like Udemy, you can also find courses from business owners and entrepreneurs where they teach useful team management and delegation techniques and other leadership skills.
As a leader, you should always be ahead, and continuous learning can help you achieve that.
Over the years of managing my small business, I understood that realising your knowledge isn’t perfect opens your eyes to many learning opportunities, which make you better as a leader.
Hopefully, the resources that I shared with you in this article will help you uplevel your leadership skills as well as make continuous education exciting and informative.
Author: Dorian Martin – Writer & Editor editor.
Photo credit: Andrew Neel on Unsplash
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