Why Managers Need to Prioritize Lifelong Learning

Dr. Matthew Jelavic, C.Mgr., Chief Executive Officer of CIM | Chartered Manager Canada, explains why professional managers need to embrace lifelong learning.

In most professions, it’s important (and often mandatory) that you keep your skills current through what is generally known as continuing professional development (CPD), and continuing education. For example, the engineering, architecture, law, medicine, and teaching professions do not simply issue a license to practice and forget about the license-holder. CPD ensures that the people in these professions are continually growing their abilities and knowledge. 

But what about professional managers? 

Perhaps more so than many other professions, managers need to stay up to date with the latest theories and, more importantly, tools to conduct the orchestra of the companies they work for. Sure, one can take a year or three to complete an MBA, and this is a noble idea as business schools make it a point to keep their curriculum current. But things change rapidly! And like many other professions, it’s critical that professional managers stay on top of their game. 


There are hundreds of thousands of people around the world that work in an industry that define themselves as “managers”. Many of these people go about their busy days never questioning their role, plugging away to make their companies successful. Their LinkedIn profiles hold various titles… engineering manager, operations manager, HR manager, project manager, finance manager, sales manager… the list goes on with new adjectives being added regularly. But are they building their capacity to lead, coach, and mentor?


These managers are often responsible for people under their charge, overseeing their work, handling performance reviews, hiring, firing, leading, existing. Naturally, some of these managers are licensed in the profession they are managing within, and some are not. Certainly, these managers need to keep up to date with the latest developments in the management profession, right? We can’t assume that a business degree conferred in 1985 is timeless.


While some things never change, others become obsolete before the final examination is written. This is where CPD, and lifelong learning, comes in. The tricks and tools of the management profession are constantly evolving. One would be hard-pressed to apply the principles of Taylor’s “scientific management” in a 2022 software engineering start-up without some, say, “modification”. Managers simply cannot stagnate and still function as effective leaders.


Professional managers have a lot on their plates. Many have conflicting priorities, and sometimes positive people management can take a back seat. But managers have an important responsibility to keep their leadership skills current. This is where micro-credentials, and personalized learning experiences come in. Managers need to be able to hone in on the skills they want to develop, and micro-courses offer short, compact learning solutions so professional managers can develop specific competencies, fast. 

Dr. Matthew Jelavic, C.Mgr., is the Chief Executive Officer of CIM | Chartered Manager Canada, the leading professional association in support of Canada’s Chartered Managers through certification, accreditation, and professional development. The association has certified over 80,000 professional managers through an extensive network of 14 chapters across the country since its founding in 1942.
CIM | Chartered Managers Canada recognizes various SCS courses and micro-courses for candidates to complete as they work towards earning its C.I.M. and the C.Mgr. professional designations.

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