New Manager, New Learning

Whether or not you have kids, you know that it’s the start of a new school year. Ah, learning. When was the last time you intentionally set out to learn something new?

Learning opens horizons. It enables us to see things from different viewpoints, to get insights that we wouldn’t have gained otherwise into people and events.

What have you been learning?

I’ve been learning Qigong and Reformer Pilates this summer. I enjoy these classes not just for the physical benefits, but also for the opportunity to switch off my brain. My poor little brain has been overloaded the past few months as I’ve finished writing and producing my forthcoming course. It has been a lot of hard work, which is why I welcome the opportunity that these classes provide my gray matter to hit pause.

Sounds like I can’t decide which is more important, doesn’t it?! Learn, or rest the brain?! It’s yin and yang. It’s two sides of the coin. Both are important and have a function:

  • Being intentionally open to new experiences through learning trains the brain to be open to hearing out-of-the-ordinary ideas, which is just the thing for successful brainstorming!
  • At the same time, neuroscience has proven that there’s value to giving your brain some space to play. Einstein, for example, came up with the theory of relativity while he was daydreaming about what it would be like to ride on the end of a rainbow in space.

Are you a new manager?

If you’re new to managing, or if you’re managing a new team, you can feel yourself learning every day. Learning about the people in your team, different ways of “being”, about the gaps in your own knowledge. Do you find learning pleasurable, or do you see it as a chore? As a manager, you should strive for the first option. Have you heard the phrase “The Learning Organization”? As the name implies, Peter Senge’s model stresses the importance of learning being part of the corporate culture, in order to achieve better results in both revenue and employee satisfaction.

Learning doesn’t need to be onerous! As a coach and trainer, one of the reasons I specialize in creative problem-solving is that learning about things like brainstorming tools and team roles is fun. And we could all do with a bit more fun at work, right?

I (gently) challenge you to learn something this autumn that is outside your comfort zone. Don’t give up, even if you think you can’t succeed, because you will find some kind of enlightenment along the way. I once attended a weekend-long glass-blowing workshop… the heat on my arms was incredibly uncomfortable and I could not produce anything worth looking at to save my life, but it gave me an awareness of and huge respect for artisans and their dedication to keep on learning their craft.

Back to school, y’all!


Ellia Harris
Ellia Harris
“Helping staff solve problems creatively is the fastest way for new managers to become a more effective leader and build a stronger team.” – Ellia Harris. Ellia Harris is passionate about the role that creativity provides in addressing organizational, societal, and global problems, and in helping people and teams achieve their potential. Through The Potential Center™, Ellia’s mission is to simplify the creative problem-solving and innovation process so managers can feel confident in addressing urgent, pervasive, and expensive problems while building a stronger, happier team. Having been one herself several times over, Ellia prefers to coach and train relatively new managers who may be experiencing staff turnover, low morale, team disagreements, or static revenue. These managers are often in sustainability, social enterprise, and nonprofit organizations – sectors that align with her passions and experience. Ellia’s framework Light Bulb Thinking™ (LBT) is designed to cultivate curiosity, creativity, and critical reasoning skills. And with its strong slant on leadership development, LBT and the audio course Light Bulb Moments™ help clients achieve goals while building a culture of kickass innovation. Learn more about Ellia Harris at The Potential Center.

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