Get Inspired by the Best Learning Methods of Top CEOs

It’s early morning at work and you’re having a serious case of the Mondays. The timeless questions run through your mind: Why am I here? What am I doing? Will I ever get that promotion?

We’ve all been there, friend. Let’s try and break free of this negativity and instead focus on action. We can take a deep dive into how CEOs learn. Once you know more about CEOs’ learning methods, you may consider taking a page or two out of their books to use in your own professional development.

Senior executive discussing reports with a colleague in a modern office setting.

Why It’s Advantageous to Learn Like a CEO

In many ways, a CEO’s most important job is to be constantly learning. They need to stay competitive and stand out as influential and effective leaders in their field. CEOs need to be able to regularly digest new information in their industry and use it to make decisions. At the end of the day, however, CEOs don’t always have the time to learn every detail about every issue. Instead, they use the resources at hand to know enough information to make effective informed decisions for their organization.

Everyone learns in their own way. However, studies have shown that CEOs possess remarkably similar learning styles to one another. In today’s world, CEOs are presented with unique challenges related to disruptive technologies that evolve rapidly. Mostly, CEOs learn through engaging with peers, seeking guidance from mentors and working to perfect new skills. This helps them to stay creative and innovative as well as to be adaptive in changing markets.

CEOs learn in a way that allows them to boil down available information to the most pertinent details, store them away and then recall them when they’re useful in the decision-making process.

Top Learning Methods Used by CEOs

As you approach this style of learning in which you only retain the most useful tidbits of information to innovate and solve problems, it is important to understand the specialized skillsets behind this process. As the most effective management skills tend to change year to year, it is important to channel your inner CEO and continue to educate yourself as industries evolve.

While CEOs engage in certain habits that increase their overall productivity and timeliness, CEOs also engage in deeper, more personal learning practices. These are lessons learned through soaring successes and disappointing failures. Luckily, we have several examples of great CEOs who came before us to help guide us as we engage in similar learning practices. Here are some specialized learning processes that CEOs go through like rites of passage:

  • Be aware of biases and practice humility – CEOs have to learn how to question themselves and their cognitive processes from time to time to avoid tunnel vision
  • Invest in your employees – Leadership shouldn’t be about a rise to power. It should be about how you work with your team to effect powerful change and innovation. Provide your employees with regular training and opportunities for professional development
  • Understand who you are as a leader – Before you can act as a leader, you should be familiar with top management skills in your industry and beyond. You should also have a curated set of values that resonate comfortably with you and demonstrate those values to your team. Remember that your words have power and act in alignment with your personal set of business morals. Aim to influence, not to manipulate your team
  • Don’t lose sight of your role – You will never win the popularity contest and you will never be able to be neutral
  • Engage in diversity-centered thinking – Consider everybody’s role in your organization, right down to the consumer. Engage in collaboration across departments and keep your learning focused on diverse perspectives
  • Adopt a growth mindset – When you reach a position of power, don’t trick yourself into thinking that you’re done growing. There is always room to grow
  • Practice productivity – Consider the ways you go about your workday and look for areas that could use improvement. Plan tasks strategically; for example, schedule blocks of time to check your emails instead of continually being distracted by them throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to establish boundaries with your team so that they know not to disturb you while you’re in a workflow. Most importantly, keeps tabs on your personal energy and allow yourself time to rest and regroup when needed

Teach Your Employees How to Be CEOs

Being an effective leader requires dedicating resources to employee training. Research has proven that organizations that spend at least $1,500 on employee enrichment activities average 24 percent higher profit margins. Since being a leader that educates employees is such a crucial part of the CEO’s life, let’s explore a few ways that you can incorporate these learning styles into your next employee training.

  • Focus on the most pertinent information instead of overwhelming employees with minute details
  • Have employees that work directly with consumers help develop educational materials so that all employees feel engaged with the company’s brand or mission
  • Empower employees to explore their creativity and talents
  • Allow employees the opportunity to speak with managers about educational materials one-on-one to foster a mindset of shared accountability
  • Adapt to employee needs and make sure that learning is being presented in the most effective way possible
  • Break up learning opportunities into chunks instead of forcing employees to sit through day-long courses

A great way to engage employees is to incorporate eLearning into your training. This will help you track metrics and increase employee engagement.

Next Steps

If you are tired of the monotonous drudge of daily work life and want to start working towards your aspirations of climbing that ladder, it is important to regularly educate yourself on ways to stay motivated and productive. Additionally, leaders who empower their employees to develop these skills as well start to build a work culture in which knowledge is power and efficiency is king.

KnowledgeCity’s course “Leadership and Influence” can help both you and your team by guiding you through what it means to be an influential leader, just like the top CEOs. It’s not enough to dream of that CEO life in the corner office — you have to work hard to make it happen.

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