In high school, I studied Spanish. I memorized vocabulary, discussed sentence structure and grammar, and learned about different cultures that speak the language. Not only was this exciting, but I learned skills that, in turn, made me a better manager today. Good managers continuously build and reflect on their skill sets. Looking back, there were four main benefits of studying Spanish—important skills I developed and continue to use throughout my career. [bctt tweet="4 Ways Studying #Spanish Has Prepared You to be a Better Leader, by Tamar Shulsinger" username="StartupInst"]
How learning a new language will make you a stronger leader:
You become more creative
Learning a new language helped me appreciate different perspectives, which in turn made me more creative. I’m eager to hear my coworkers’ viewpoints when problem-solving and brainstorming. I enjoy figuring out new and inventive ways of working on projects, and as a result, I’ve become more outgoing. I also embrace new ideas and am unafraid to discover new methods of reaching out to people. Learning Spanish and the cultures behind the language made me more perceptive and stretched my imagination.
[bctt tweet="Learning a #secondlanguage has helped be become a more creative manager, says Tamar Shulsinger" username="StartupInst"]
You learn how to stay focused
It addition, learning a new language helped me become more alert and focused on any given task at hand, whether it is editing a white paper or having a brainstorming session with several interns. My countless hours spent memorizing vocabulary and grammar led me to become a sharper and more attentive manager. My concentration improved because I was forced to prioritize tasks and limit distractions (word to the wise: setting specific times to check email will make a world of difference in your career).
You become a better communicator
Learning a new language taught me how to communicate clearly and empathically, by breaking down what I’m trying to say. Body language such as hand gestures, posture, and facial expressions can have a huge impact on one’s message. In addition, I learned how to be a strong public speaker by emphasizing warmth, clarity, and active listening, both in my daily communications with coworkers and through client-facing presentations. This makes it easier to relate to people and see their points of view. As a result, I am better at establishing and maintaining connections.
[bctt tweet="Studying #Spanish taught me to be a more clear + empathic communicator— Tamar Shulsinger" username="StartupInst"]
You discover how to be more efficient
Another benefit of learning a new language is that I became a better multitasker, which ultimately makes me more efficient. Between memorizing high quantities of new words and studying syntax, I learned how to manage time better and hold several priorities in my mind at once. It became easier to plan and prioritize which tasks were crucial to focus on. I can better delegate tasks to my team and manage my time more efficiently. As a result, my productivity has increased, and I create more value for my organization.
Learning Spanish was an unforgettable experience, from making connections with my classmates to challenging myself to think in a whole new system. Even though it’s been over a decade since I studied the language, I still apply the transferable skills I learned from my classes to my career this very day. By learning how to become a warmer, more engaging, and efficient manager, I learned how to become a stronger leader. As you take the next steps in your career or consider how to become a leader in your organization, look to the skills you've already built and find ways to apply these learnings to your progressive leadership roles. I encourage you to continuously build on these capabilities and keep looking for new ways of communicating with people, no matter what your age or career level.[bctt tweet="Look back to your roots + passions to recognize qualities that map to great #leadership" username="StartupInst"]