As a leader, you’ve likely heard this plenty of times: What got you here, won’t get you there. It’s such common advice to leaders that it’s even the title of a book by business educator and coach, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith. 

The saying and the main point of the book recommend leaders to stop depending on their technical expertise, which likely helped them snag their leadership role, and start building the necessary essential skills that will help them excel as they rise up the last rungs of the leadership ladder. 

Today’s quickly changing landscape demands that leaders rethink professional development once again. Yes, they need to continue to focus on building new leadership skills, but they also need to take a new approach to how and when they develop their skills. 

Instead of one-time workshops or learning sessions, professional development needs to become an integral part of an executive’s repertoire. Something they can do in real-time, getting access to proactive feedback and insights they need as they work through specific scenarios.

Ongoing learning benefits all

Continuous learning is as good for a company as it is for leaders. There’s the trickle down effect. As leaders share their development journeys, their teams members are more likely to take time to build their own skills. Research shows that employees are five times more likely to perform better when companies support skill-building.

Too often, companies worry investing in skill-building opportunities will help employees find new roles outside of the company. The research paints a different picture: less than a quarter of employees want to build skills to leave for a new job and over half want to do it to increase performance. This creates a net gain for all - leaders and employees build their skills, work performance increases, and the culture of the company - along with the output - improves. 

Creating a better culture - both by building skills that strengthen interpersonal relationships and encouraging others to build skills - is vital. But encouraging team members to do it in a way that makes them feel empowered and autonomous. Asking questions to find specific feedback about what skills they’d like to improve and how they’d like to be supported in their pursuits is key in successful skill-building. Cultivating a positive, safe space to encourage others to pursue improvements in supportive ways is a surefire way to perpetuate high morale and improve the overall success of a corporation. 

I help leaders identify the skills that they can build and create plans that encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Through worksheets, assessments, and customized programs, I encourage executives to take the steps they need to build skills and encourage team members to follow suit.