This is the fifth installment in our 25 week series exploring the 25 competencies, or soft skills, that our assessments measure. Each week we’ll give you the definition of that competency, explain its value, and give you tips to help you develop it. This week: Continuous Learning.
Continuous Learning is taking initiative to regularly learn new concepts, technologies and/or methods. A continuous learner is someone who goes out of their way to prioritize learning. They are eager to delve deep into subjects that interest them. They see learning as an important way to grow and develop.
Continuous Learning is valuable in so many ways. It can help expand your possibilities by bringing new opportunities or paths to light. It can help you establish new perspectives in areas of life you hadn’t previously spent much time. It can make you a great trivia teammate by providing you with knowledge about a variety of areas. But, most valuable of all, in my opinion at least, it can improve your decision making by giving you a more well-rounded perspective.
Those who are skilled in Continuous Learning are always looking for the next perspective, the next thought leader to follow, the next hypothesis about how something works. This gives them a great starting point when decisions need to be made, especially those longer term strategic ones. They are constantly adding to their personal body of knowledge which allows them to pull from many different viewpoints in order to make the best decision possible.
If you’d like to be a more continuous learner all you have to do is start reading more. You can read articles, blogs, newspapers, books, academic papers, anything really. Find a medium that works for you and get started. Maybe you prefer shorter pieces on a variety of subjects, try subscribing to a trade magazine about your industry. Maybe you prefer delving deep into a particular subject, find a best seller and dig in. Whichever way you prefer to consume the content, you have to make sure that you prioritize finding the time to read it. Set aside a block of time somewhere in your week to make it happen.
Since we are 5 weeks into our 25 week series, it seems like a good time to tell you that you should not be striving to develop all 25 of these skills. Certain skills will be more important for certain roles, so the goal is to develop the 5-7 skills that will make you the most successful in your current role.
And, as a leader, you have the added luxury of being able to focus on the skills that you enjoy. If, for instance, you do not want to become a continuous learner, you can find someone else on your team who is and lean on their knowledge. Just make sure that you show your appreciation for them and the skills they possess.
If you’d like to learn more ways to develop your Continuous Learning, download our Continuous Learning Rx PDF here.