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Leaders As Chief Learners

Written by: Santarvis Brown, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I’ve worked with a lot of leaders over the years. From the best of the best to those who fail to bring about positive and permanent change in their workplaces, I have had the opportunity to examine many different leadership approaches. By far the most successful of these are approaches that consider the leaders of the company as “chief learners”. There are a few reasons why leadership styles focused on continued learning rather than one-size-fits-all decisions are so much more effective, and I want to explore some of the most important of them with you. My goal is always to help today’s leaders shape tomorrow in positive ways that benefit corporations and their employees alike.

Multiple exposure shot of colleagues in a presentation superimposed over an urban background

Why does continued learning matter?

There is a pervasive assumption in business that once you have found any success as a leader, you should continue with more of the same. The idea of branching out and trying new things is concerning to many, especially when any perceived failure might negatively impact job performance. But I think that these leaders are looking at things the wrong way.

When you fall into a rut and refuse to change, you are destined to fall behind the times. This can bring down even the most respected of leaders. Your goal should always be to refine your tactics to be the most effective leader possible for your corporation and your workers. You must always be ready to tackle new problems or consider new ideas.

Let’s take a look at a situation where a leader is focused on their past successes rather than their future triumphs. Consider the leader who made waves a few decades ago by transitioning small portions of their record-keeping and business processes to computer systems. At the time, the suggestion was radical and risky and gave the business enough of an advantage to make noticeable improvements in revenue. Over time, however, the leader fell behind on technology. Instead of looking at how new apps and innovations can help revolutionize the way their business operates, they stubbornly stick to the processes that gave them initial success.

Which business do you think is more successful: the one that adopts new technology and uses it as an advantage, or the one that keeps their use of technology rudimentary? The former will almost always win, especially in industries where using the latest in technology has a massive impact on performance.

The moral of the story here is that while learning and implementing new things might seem risky at first, it is critical for continued success as a leader.

Tailored solutions

The more you learn and adapt, the better you come to know your organization and its workforce. When you find the perfect new addition to your business operations or revision to your processes, the continued learning you’ve been doing will help you to successfully implement it. Additionally, when you build corporate and organizational culture around continued learning, you are preparing everyone around you for change. You make it the expectation, not the exception, which means that your workforce is more accepting of changes.

Are you ready to be the best leader you can be? Remember that embracing change and constantly challenging yourself to learn new things is critical to long-term success.

Visit Santarvis on his LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more information.


Santarvis Brown, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Santarvis Brown has spent 15+ years serving as a leader, innovator, and changemaker in education, showcasing in-depth insight as an administrator, educator, and program director. A noted speaker, researcher, and full professor, he has lent his speaking talent to many community and educational forums, serving as a keynote speaker. He has also penned several publications tackling issues in civic service, faith, leadership, and education.



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