John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” As a leader in the convenience industry, you already know you need to be up-to-date on all the current market trends. However, to be a great leader it’s also important that you never stop learning in other areas as well. Additionally, you need to always be willing to improve your own leadership skills. Learning as a leader doesn’t always mean training courses or seminars. There are many ways you can incorporate learning into your routine and become a lifelong learner.
5 Steps to Becoming a Lifelong Learner
Learning is fundamental to being a good leader, and there are many ways in which you can increase your knowledge of leadership skills, business management, and the convenience industry. You may even be surprised to learn you’re doing some of these things already.
1. Take leadership training (and take it seriously).
When you think of learning, likely one of the first things that comes to mind is some form of leadership training. There are many methods and options – from online learning to seminars and even leadership retreats. Take advantage of any opportunity you may have to participate in leadership training, and don’t just show up for the attendance credit. Engage with the training and really get the most out of it. Not all leadership training is created equal, but you should be able to take something away from any course.
2. Take advantage of industry podcasts.
Are you a podcast listener? There’s a wide variety of podcasts available for nearly every subject – including convenience stores. You can learn about new innovations, hear from experts about their experiences, and catch up on the latest trends in the industry. Here are a few you may want to consider subscribing to:
- At Your Convenience: This twice-monthly podcast by CSP Daily and CSP magazine explores the hottest trends, news and issues related to convenience retailing.
- Retail Daily: This new daily podcast from the editors of Winsight Grocery Business and CSP Daily News offers a daily download of the top industry news from supermarkets and cstores.
- Convenience Matters: This weekly podcast from NACS discusses all things convenience related, with a variety of guests sharing ideas on issues and topics.
- Culture of Convenience: This weekly podcast hosted by Jeff Kahler, president of Ready Training Online, offers advice and insight on a wide variety of leadership and convenience-related topics.
3. Start a feedback loop with other managers and key employees.
You can learn a lot just from talking to the people around you. Your frontline knows a lot about how your business works and ways you might be able to improve it. Set up a process through which you can collect feedback and suggestions from your management team and employees. This can be an email address they can submit feedback through, a form to fill out online, or even periodic focus groups where you meet with select individuals to discuss feedback on certain topics. Ensure employees they have a safe space to share their thoughts, so they feel comfortable providing feedback that could really benefit your business.
4. Become a mentor.
When you teach, you can sometimes learn just as much, if not more than, the person you’re teaching. When mentoring someone younger or newer to the business, they may be coming from a different background, with different points of view and perspectives on things that may help you learn a new way of looking at your business. Mentoring also helps you hone your leadership and communication skills as you work with your mentee and build a relationship with them.
5. Seek advice from others.
In addition to becoming a mentor and giving advice, be open to seeking advice from other leaders who may be more experienced than you. This may be a colleague in your company or within the industry, someone outside the industry you respect, or even someone you follow online. Many of today’s foremost leadership experts have a wide variety of content you can seek out to learn from: books, blogs, email newsletters, and even YouTube channels. Don’t be afraid to look to others for advice when you don’t have all the answers – because you never will have all the answers, which is why it’s important to keep learning.
Leadership Development Training
Our convenience store manager training delivers valuable training topics, such as Coaching, Leading and Inspiring Store Managers, and the Importance of Being a Role Model that are tailored specifically to your assistant managers, store managers, and district managers. Click here for more information.