Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Great Leadership Stems From Continuous Learning (And Sharing)

October 07, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

According to the Workforce 2020 study, more than half of employees interviewed feel their leader lacks the necessary skills to effectively manage their staff. A majority of employees also said they don’t receive enough feedback on their performance from managers. These telling statistics point to some significant gaps in employees’ perception of their leaders’ ability to be successful in the future.

Similarly, Harvard Business Review published an article titled: The Best Leaders Are Insatiable Learners. It cites a seminal business speech delivered in 1990 that focuses on the topic of a leader’s personal responsibility for “self-renewal,” and arguing that most business leaders are “stale.” These words still ring true today, as leaders must always be interested in learning, growing and changing. 

Although separated by nearly 15 years, both the speech and the Workforce 2020 study demonstrate a key principle – that great leadership requires a deep, personal commitment to continuous learning. Leaders at all levels must hold themselves accountable to seek knowledge from new sources, push themselves to learn new skills, and to embrace a broader range of perspectives.

At Disney Institute, in our Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence professional development course, we teach participants that intentions and behaviors matter. Why? Because employees are not just listening to what their leaders say; they are also watching what they do. Today’s employees also expect that their leaders will teach them new skills, so one of the real-life Disney examples we share in the course is how our leaders are specifically held accountable for sharing knowledge with their Cast.

The bottom line: Leaders who make a commitment to their own personal and professional growth (e.g. the intention) and follow through by teaching others (e.g the behavior) are demonstrating to their employees that they value continuous learning – for themselves, for their employees, and for the future of the organization.  

Share your perspective – In what ways do you continuously challenge yourself to develop new knowledge, skills, and perspectives? How do you share lessons learned with your employees and coworkers? 

We’d love to hear from you! 
Post your response below, or respond to us on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #DThinkBlog.

For nearly three decades, Disney Institute has provided engaging and insightful learning opportunities for business professionals and organizations, teaching them the Disney approach to business…focusing on Service, Leadership, Culture, Brand Loyalty, Creativity and Innovation. To learn more about how you can attend an upcoming course, see our full Course Calendar. Not sure which course is best for you? Try our Course Recommender

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Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Excellence, Leadership Training, Professional Development, Training, Employee Training, Company Training, Business Training, Organizational Training, Organizational Leadership, Organizational Development

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