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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

3 Learning Tools All Leaders Should Have

I admit it - I sometimes disappoint.

People mistakenly think that when I give a Learnability workshop, it’s going to be about how to study, how to make notes, how to get organised and so on.

But no.

Usually, I focus on how we learn in a practical sense and how to turn that to our advantage.

In a nutshell, that we are social learners.

We learn by listening to others.

We learn by watching others.

We learn by copying what others do, or fail to do… as the case may be.

This means that although books and videos and podcasts are useful, it’s the people in our lives who are (potentially) the most useful learning tools we have.

And just as there exist different tools for different jobs, so there are different people for different learning stages.

Here are 3 types of people you need in your learning toolbox if you want to become better at what you do.

1: The Feedback Provider

It’s dangerous to surround yourself with Yes-men - people who are afraid to say anything you don’t like.

If you want to get better at what you do, you need to have at least one person you can trust to give you truthful feedback, especially feedback you don’t like and would prefer not to hear.

Feedback is not only the breakfast of champions, it the oxygen of learners. Genuine, unfiltered feedback will tell you exactly what your weaknesses are and thus, what you need to be getting better at.

Without it, you’re wasting your time and missing opportunities.

2: Your Mentor

Once you’ve received your feedback you can decided on what you need to improve and what skills you want to develop. So your next step is to identify the person who can best help you do so.

Somewhere out there is someone who can already do what you want to. They have the knowledge. And as you don’t want to have to reinvent the wonderbra, your next step is to enrol them as a mentor.

An ideal mentor should be someone experienced but also someone you can confide in - you’re going to have a lot of difficult conversations about the challenges you want to overcome.

But once you’ve found the right mentor, you will start getting the right advice and even more valuable feedback, even though it is uncomfortable at times.

3: Accountability Partner

As you probably have already observed, there’s a difference between knowing the way and walking the way.

Psychological pressure is a powerful tool to motivating yourself to girder your loins and go for it.

While your mentor will provide you with a certain amount of pressure, the best person for the job is someone whose opinion of you is important: your grandmother would probably have been a good candidate for the job.

If she’s still around and up for it, fantastic, but otherwise it’s down to one of the people around you.

Not those who would just shrug off your failures and move on to the next subject, but someone who is capable of putting on the emotional skrews and making you grimace with shame.

An accountability partner should be someone whose mere look of disapproval would be enough to get you to go that extra mile, which of course is exactly what you’re going to do to become the best leader you can be, aren’t you?

So now it’s time to think, who are yours?

And if you seriously want to become a better leader by putting theory into practice, then put the books and podcasts aside for the moment and focus on forming your Learnability dream team.

You won’t be disappointed.

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