Learning Agility Is Critical For Leadership Success
You know them when you speak with them, people who make the effort to keep learning on a daily basis
stick out. They offer sound advice, are a rock in unstable times, mentor, coach, and perhaps stand out in
your mind long after you encounter them. Those who truly seek to have learning agility and never feel that
they have learned enough are those that have a tremendous impact no matter what they are involved in.
There is a fundamental truth among esteemed leadership researchers and writers, the best leaders are those
who are the best learners. Leadership is not a birth right, it is learned through theory, implementation,
success, failure, and observation. Lets unpack what learning agility is, why it is critical for leaders, and
practical ways to implement it into your development.
What Exactly Is Learning Agility?
Learning agility is more or less using your past experiences to direct your future decisions or actions. The
old phrase “you learn form your mistakes” falls short if you actually do not implement what you learned and
how to either avoid from doing it again or put it into practice in the future to get the best results. Learning
agility also requires a person to have self awareness, self discipline, and self confidence. If you are not self
aware to seek feedback from others, lack the self discipline to implement the learnings, or lack the
confidence to honestly examine the situation and yourself, your learning agility is non existent. It takes
effort at every turn to consistently use learning agility to keep growing and developing.
Learning Agility Is Hard For Some People
Without a growth mindset, learning agility falls flat. Psychologist can classify people as either a fixed
mindset or a growth mindset. Those with a fixed mindset feel as if they have no room for growth, that they
are they way they are and not much will change that fact. For example, if you are horrible at math than you
will always be horrible at math, period. A growth mindset is the opposite, you are horrible at math now, but
you will learn and grow and get better at it with time and effort. Two opposing mindsets that will either
foster learning agility, or dismantle it. Which one are you? If you have a fixed mindset naturally then
setting up small challenges that you can overcome will help you adopt a growth mindset. You are only
fixed or stuck if you allow yourself to be. If you naturally have a growth mindset, feed that with
consistently learning and implementing.
An Experienced Leader May Be A Deterrent To Learning Agility
Some leaders with many years of experience fall into routine, stop learning, and feel as if they have reached
their ceiling of learning. This actually drives down performance, and has a rippling effect on those that they
manage and lead. Once you get set in your ways, you have reached the fixed mindset mentality. I don’t
care how long you have been leading or whether you have read 500 books. The moment you stop learning
is the moment you start failing to enrich the lives of others as well as your own.
Practical Ways To Incorporate Learning Agility
Implementing ways to grow and learn are not hard, it just takes a culture of discipline. Here are three easy
ways to learn something new everyday
1. Read a chapter out of a book. The book can be anything, its amazing if you open your mind up to what
you are reading and you think of ways to implement that in your life.
2. Talk with a co worker, mentor, or spouse about ideas that you have that you want to try one day to see to
3. Set small goals or challenges that make you work to achieve. These may seem small in nature, but you are
developing a foundation for growth
Developing Yourself Takes Time
Learning agility takes time to get good at. Learning agility may seem difficult, tedious, or low reward at
first but the longer you stick with it the better you will be as an effective leader. You have to learn how to
start using learning agility.