I am huge believer in the strength of lifelong learning. Learning allows us to connect with the new ideas born into the world on a daily basis and learning allows us to stretch our imaginations beyond any known boundary. Without lifelong learning, our brains and bodies stagnate. We will rot away in the muck of sameness and predictability.
Organizations need learning as much as do individuals. There are new theories to test that may (or may not) improve productivity and efficiency. Learning new ways to execute projects can save resources and motivate the workforce, for example. Like individual learning, organizational learning must be a continuous passion. However, organizational learning must be exemplified by leaders.
Leaders are very different than managers. Most of us are familiar with the old adage that “managers manage things and leaders lead people.” Yes, that’s true. Yet leadership is more than directing the people on a team. Leadership involves inspiring others to achieve greatness. It involves helping your team members to stretch beyond their capabilities to create bigger and better solutions to age-old problems. Leadership demonstrates a vision and the pathway to reach faraway goals.
Leaders don’t just dream about a different future. They also put in place mechanisms and tools to build that exact future. A leader doesn’t have the technical solutions in his or her back pocket but he or she can encourage and motivate the team to find designs and to develop solutions that create a better world for all of us. Leaders inspire, motivate, and encourage even when the chips are down.
Leading by Example
Leaders are just managers if they don’t have natural followers. Often, leaders can be compared to managers by their actions. A manager dictates work by command and control. She will tell her team members what to do and check to see if it gets done.
Leaders, on the other hand, will stand beside the team member to learn the task and to identify a solution. He is not afraid to get his hands dirty seeking a better way. Leading by example is a fundamental characteristic of successful and inspiring leaders.
Leading by example includes lifelong learning. Leaders that read and share new information, concepts, and theories demonstrate that learning is important. Team members will follow that example and also read to share new information, concepts, and theories that they encounter. Shared experiences are a key to successful team growth as the team members collectively find new solutions to project problems or technical challenges.
Leaders also demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning through continued professional development. In today’s busy world, many careers demand that workers hit the ground running when they are hired for a new job. Professional certifications like Project Management Professional (PMP®), New Product Development Professional (NPDP), Scrum Master (SCM™), and Professional Engineering Manager (PEM) also demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning. Professional certification demonstrates education, experience, and subject matter knowledge exemplifying technical and market leadership. Many jobs today require applicants to hold such professional credentials to validate their skills and capabilities as well as to demonstrate the candidate’s leadership competencies.
Teams can learn together to expand their skills in these fields. PMP exam prep training and Scrum Master training are great classes for teams to take together to learn a common vocabulary and approach to problem-solving. Simple-PDH.com offers a company discount for PMP Boot Camps, next scheduled for 26-30 September 2016 in Houston, Texas. You’ll earn 35 professional development hours (PDH) in this course as well as be prepared to pass the PMP exam on the first try!
NPDP training is also well suited for innovation teams. The course presents a common framework and best practices for teams engaged in radical innovation and applied R&D. Our next NPDP face-to-face class is scheduled for 12 & 13 October 2016 in Houston, Texas. You’ll earn 16 PDHs during this intense learning workshop.
Leadership in Learning
Leaders exemplify the behaviors they want their teams to demonstrate. Lifelong learning is foundational to long-term organizational success. Great leaders not only encourage and share learning with their teams, they also practice lifelong learning through professional development. For more information on gaining and maintaining professional certifications, please contact us at [email protected] or by phone at +1-281-280-8717.
Study. Learn. Earn. Simple.
by Global NP Solutions, LLC