13 Effective Ways Business Leaders Can Continue Improving Their Skills

Continuing education is important — especially for leaders. What is the best method to learn or improve work-related skills?

Continuing education

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1. Make It a Team Effort

As tax accountants, continuing education is paramount for me and my team, not only to maintain our professional licenses, but also to stay on top of new developments — for example, the impact of the new tax law on international business taxation. While we encourage every individual to take courses, we also make it a team effort. At the weekly team call, everyone shares key learnings from the week. – Vincenzo Villamena, Online Taxman

2. Stay Informed of the Latest Advances

It’s important to be aware of the latest software, platforms and systems in your industry. When you want to learn something new, you need to get beyond theory and actually practice it. If you’re a leader in your business, you tend to assign different tasks to specialists. As you do this, however, it’s good to have a working knowledge of all these areas yourself. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

3. Listen to Podcasts

As an entrepreneur, you need to maximize your time while continuing to learn and stay healthy. Find the top podcasts for the topics you are interested in and subscribe. There are now podcasts on every subject you would want to sharpen your skills on. Learn without distractions and stay fit by listening to the podcast episodes while going for a walk. Mental and physical health is crucial to your success! – Mikey Moran, Private Label Extensions

Student taking an online course

4. Take Online Courses

Online courses are a great way to make sure you never stop learning. Websites like Udemy, Skillshare and Lynda have a variety of courses in many different fields, from SEO to web development. The courses are great because you can just take a little time out of your day to work on them without missing out on any of your usual work. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

I learn the best while on the job. The only way to ensure I am always learning is to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. That can be within my office, or at a convention or even with a mentor. I try to say “yes” to as many opportunities as I can that I will learn from. – Ben Landis, Fanbase

6. Read Regularly

I’ve made it a point to always finish a book a month. I love all kinds of business books, but I especially enjoy founder’s stories such as Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Not only are they inspirational, I’m able to pull specific lessons from them, like how to master an organizational chart or communicate with my team. – Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant

7. Leverage Digital Tools

As a leader, and especially within the tech space, your personal education should be a lifelong pursuit. Staying up to date in today’s climate requires that we download and digest information at an increasingly rapid rate. I find that using online tools like YouTube and keeping a full Kindle helps me get up to speed on new topics quickly. – Kevin Yamazaki, Sidebench

8. Learn From the Best

When there’s something you want to get better at, identify who at your company excels at that thing, and put yourself next to them. Early in my career, I worked as a freelance software developer, and thought I knew my stuff. But when I ended up working side by side with an experienced senior engineer, I skyrocketed. Difficult concepts can seem easy when you learn from experienced mentors. – Tim Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software

9. Use Social Media in a Smart Way

Take a look at all the Facebook pages that you follow, and unfollow anything that doesn’t help you grow. I like to follow industry leaders, mentors and tutorial sites, so when I log onto Facebook, it benefits me and I can stay up to date on the latest technology trends. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

Business convention

10. Attend Industry Conferences

It’s important for me to attend conferences to not only stay up to date with new technologies, but also network and meet new people in my industry. I appreciate exchanging information with people and find out ways that we can help each other out. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

11. Learn From Leaders and Experts

Identify several people in your field who are true experts and follow them. Absorb their blogs, social media posts, videos and podcasts. True leaders and experts are good at distilling knowledge into manageable chunks. These people can be your mentors, even if you don’t know them personally. – Shawn Porat, Scorely

12. Get a Formal Executive Education

Most major colleges now offer easy executive education classes. Harvard, for example, now offers over 50 different classes that last up to seven days and cost $7,000-$15,000. These classes range from sales, negotiation and marketing to M&A. While it may seem expensive, you are also paying for the contacts that you meet in class. I get much more out of executive classes than I did in college classes. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

13. Consider Mentoring Others

When people think of mentoring, it’s easy to see how the mentee benefits from the relationship, but sometimes it’s not so obvious how the mentor benefits. However, it’s a very mutual relationship. I’ve learned a lot about the latest technology trends that I may have otherwise missed. It’s also never too late to have a mentor yourself. Don’t overlook mentorship when it comes to continuing education. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights