Every year, LinkedIn publishes a list of the most in-demand skills for the current year. Did you know that the vast majority of 2024’s most in-demand skills were not on last year’s list? Did you also know that this is a common pattern for professional skills in the workforce? 

Whether it be tech innovations or increasing demands for workplace well-being, needs are constantly shifting. Great leaders are aware of this pattern and take a hands-on role in motivating employees to learn skills that will not only benefit their organization but will also nurture their growth as individuals.

Today, I will leave you with actionable steps for leaders who want to empower their teams with a culture of continuous learning.

Lead by Example by Learning Together

When a leader is not afraid to be seen as someone who doesn’t know everything, their reports are more likely to embrace knowledge gaps as learning opportunities.

Think of some ways your industry has changed over the past year. Have there been new consumer demands? New tech to keep up with? Let your team know that you are in the same boat and are going to tackle new skills together.

Reward Curiosity

Rewarding curiosity falls under the topic of psychological safety — something we’ve heard a lot about in the past couple years. When employees feel safe acknowledging their own gaps, they feel motivated to fill those gaps. 

As a leader, you never want your employees to feel intimidated admitting when they don’t know something. Rather, you want to create space for questions and wonderment. When someone is vulnerable enough to admit confusion or other gaps, express explicit appreciation for their honesty and curiosity.

Put Learning on the To-Do List

And yes, this means compensating your team for learning skills that will benefit them (and create well-rounded, curious individuals).

Create space for employees to share what they would like to learn, whether in team meetings, via email, or through feedback channels. And if multiple team members share certain curiosities, embrace it as an opportunity for group learning.

Become Failure-Friendly

“The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate,” says Thomas Watson Sr., former chairman and CEO of IBM.

You may feel tempted to wait to implement what your employees have learned until you know they’ve perfected the skill, so as not to risk poor results. Of course, don’t set your employees up for failure by pulling the trigger on a concept they aren’t ready to execute. But remember, the teams that benefit the most from innovation are ones who aren’t afraid to fail.

For more on failure tolerance, check out this blog post

In conclusion…

By building continuous learning into your team’s everyday practice, you not only unlock innovation but you empower your team to express curiosity and become more well-rounded individuals.

Interested in more hands-on leadership coaching? Book a free discovery call here.

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