Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Why great leaders are learners


Learning is one of the key tenets of leadership. Great leaders are learners. They read voraciously. They write and teach what they learn. Learning is as much a part of their life as eating.

Learning is key to coming up with new ideas that will improve your business and ensure success. Learning is the key to growth. Leaders who are learners ‘raise the tide’ for everyone around them. Learning is key to progress.


Cultivating the desire to learn is vital to your success as a leader. One of the tips in Management Tips: Harvard Business Review states the following:

Successful leaders keep their minds open to new things because they know that no matter how high their level of mastery, there is always more to discover…. When facing challenges, even ones you’ve faced many times before, adopt a learner’s approach—ask questions or find new ways to solve problems.

Leaders need to provide their teams with opportunities to learn. Send them to conferences about your business. Encourage them to tune in to webinars and other resources that will keep them engaged. Provide incentives for those who take learning seriously.

Great leaders know that to continue their own growth, they must teach to learn. They become mentors. They realize that as they teach and interact with others, their knowledge increases. Teaching is one of the best ways to become a learner.

If you’re a long-time reader you’ve seen this quote by Eric Hoffer: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”

The world is changing rapidly; learners grow, progress and benefit from the changes happening around them. More importantly, learners shape the world.

Questions: Why is learning important to you? How has being a learner changed your career? Please leave a comment in the space below.

The Product Management Perspective: The subject of learning should course through product managers’ veins.  About the time you think you understand a market or a product or a buyer persona, it changes. To keep up with the evolution of product management, you need to understand where it’s at and where it’s headed. Read blogs, books and magazines. Make it a point to be a learner. Talk to your teams about what you are learning; you will gain their respect and be seen as their leader.

4 thoughts on “Why great leaders are learners

  1. I work in the public sector as a Fire Chief and this article is certainly relevant to our profession. We have evolved from just being a fire department to an all hazards department; and we are not finished evolving yet. The fire service is in a transition phase and we are moving from a blue collar profession to a profession that encourages “thinking” firefighters to stay relevant in our ever changing society. We are cultivating our future to be “learning” leaders. Excellent article!

    • Thanks for your insight Susanna! It sounds like you’re doing great things in your organization, I love this kind of innovation. If every organization took your approach we would live in a much better world (even though the world we live in is pretty awesome).

      Keep up the great work!

  2. As a recent license international trained med lab tech, I think once you have reached the top, then you are faced with another challenge. The world of lab science is ever changing, and new info discovered raises a need for continuous learning. To remain a good leader and professional, you have to be current and keep the pace with change. Also this help you avoid embarrassment from employees who are current with new developments. Finally, be practical and take any given opportunity to share and teach new idea. So, learning is a continuous process and in doing so I will achieve the goals I have set out for myself in this career.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Great perspective and so many truths to hang on to.

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