The Importance of Leadership Skills and Life-Long Learning

Many reports argue that the most successful people in life are lifelong learners. Life-Long Learners carry on learning and developing their skills throughout their career. Here are just three factors why Life-Long Learning is Important:

1/ With lockdown, thousands of us have had to adapt to new ways of working and new tech

2/Technical advances have created and reshaped business models, homeworking and even new home-based businesses

3/ With greater life expectancy, pension being drawn later, we are working longer, and many people are moving into second careers

For example, my first job in sales involved walking door to door and cold calling. It was a year before I was given the 'Brick' phone. Internet was the WWW, 'Social' was a working man's pub, and Media the 'So not PC' TV adverts.

The new skills and tech I've had to learn in my 30-year career as a salesperson, business owner and now as an apprenticeship business advisor has been vast. And I am still learning more about BIG DATA, CYBER, LEADING TEAMS, DIGITAL - the list goes on…

The government is now funding many courses for adults such as digital boot camps, mental health, accounting, construction, life coaching and tech skills, which underpins their belief in the Importance of Life-Long Learning and Skills development.

Soft Skills are becoming increasingly important…

Ensuring that teams have the tools and are taught how to produce is not enough; the top skills business owners and managers need to possess or learn are Soft Skills. 

So, what does this mean for business owners? 

Back in the day, this would raise many bosses eyebrows, but according to a report by Professor Cary Cooper "The challenge for HR is how to train its existing cohort in this and not just promote people on just technical skills".  

Skills including Emotional, Collaboration, Personal Development, Growth Mindset and People Management are the soft skills that we should be looking to learn and employ to sustain staff wellbeing and growth. I would also argue that we should also use these skills when dealing with customers as they are increasingly making emotional purchasing decisions based on brand, Sustainability and CSR.

All well and good! But how does one combine these skills alongside business growth, management and budgeting? And ensure these skills are deployed throughout a business in the right way? For larger businesses, some companies employ mentors and coaches. For SME's, this is not always an option.

A step-by-step approach could be the answer by choosing relevant courses for relevant job roles.   For example, Management and Leadership courses will cover just that; time and people management, team collaboration and building, which is perfect for managers and business owners. Mental Health and Safeguarding might be more relevant for employees working with the vulnerable or supervisors overseeing homeworking teams. Project management courses will help managers pull together projects developing relevant tech skills, and learning to collaborate and manage external and internal groups.  If you want to use the funding available but are unsure what course or who to place on one, you can get lots of help from training providers. Training providers offer more than Apprenticeship placements. We promote the benefits of three principles Recruit, Retain, Retain and help our clients and learners evolve. Many of them stay with their employer and upskill to new courses, reducing recruitment fees and increasing employee loyalty.

What we can all be sure of is this. As we come out of the pandemic, we are not going back to the old way of living or doing business. There is more to learn, and the need to learn and change will not stop. 

 "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." Albert Einstien

10 Jun 2021

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