As you develop your leadership skills in corporate learning, it’s important to help employees do the same.
What is “leading learning,” and how can you effectively use leading learning strategies to positively impact the learning environment?
To answer this question and more, consider the role of learning leadership in positively impacting your employees’ overall learning environment and experience.
High-performing Learning Organizations Are More Likely To Innovate
A study by Deloitte shows that high-performing learning organizations are more likely to innovate than their lower performing counterparts.
In fact, 80% of these high-performing learning organizations have a culture that promotes innovation.
This group is also:
- 46% more likely to be first-to-market.
- 17% more likely to be the market share leader.
- 58% more prepared to meet future market demands.
- 34% more able to respond to customer needs.
- 26% more able to deliver quality products.
Thus, developing the skills you need to support a high-performing learning function in your organization is a strategic business advantage.
The Importance of Leading Learning
In order to positively impact an environment for learning, it is important that leaders recognize their role in leading.
This means they are aware of the importance of their actions, have a vision for the future and have a plan for success.
Effective leaders also communicate what they know and make sure those around them are up-to-date on all changes. Most importantly, effective leaders take accountability by always ensuring transparency with employees and by working with others to resolve issues as they arise.
The following strategies will help ensure a positive environment for learning where everyone can be successful in achieving their goals.
Leadership Strategies for Learning
1. Great leaders not only lead – they build.
Leaders are not born, they are made, and great leaders know this.
Great leadership requires openness and honesty, integrity and self-knowledge. It requires taking time for reflection and sharing knowledge with others. Moreover, great leadership requires an understanding that effective communication from them can have a significant impact on the organization’s learning culture.
Regarding corporate learning, a successful leader is like a gardener who provides nutrients so that their plants (i.e., their employees) can thrive.
2. Promoting learning as a core value.
If managers and other employees are to focus on corporate learning, then leaders must help establish learning as a core organizational value.
Learning leaders are knowledgeable, creative and collaborative. They have a learner’s mindset and always seek out new ways of learning themselves. They create an environment that promotes innovation and critical thinking while providing employees with an opportunity to explore their interests in a safe space.
The leader must articulate the tangible benefits of learning to employees and tie key organizational initiatives to workplace learning.
3. Leaders must model attitudes conducive to learning.
In order to positively impact the learning environment, leaders must learn how to model positive attitudes that are conducive to learning.
This could include:
- Keeping a positive and open attitude when interacting with others.
- Making sure people know they are valued and appreciated.
- Supporting people as they learn, grow and make mistakes.
- Being willing to admit one’s own mistakes.
- Respecting feedback from others, even if it differs from one’s own opinion or idea.
To reach this mindset, leaders need to ask themselves:
- Am I questioning our organizational practices?
- Am I taking too much or enough risks?
- What is leading learning, and what does it mean for the organization?
- Do I search for new experiences?
4. Allocating resources for learning activities.
One of the most important things a leader can do is allocate resources for learning, which include money, time and attention, to name a few.
Leaders need to make sure they are finding ways to provide opportunities for people who want to learn. This can be done by creating a culture of learning in which people are encouraged, rewarded and congratulated when they take the initiative to learn new skills.
In addition, leaders must also manage goals and expectations so they do not create a culture of entitlement in which people expect their managers or leaders will create opportunities for them rather than taking initiative themselves.
An important first step is making sure that everyone understands what leading learning is, what it means to be an effective learner and what each person’s role might be in supporting someone else’s learning.
5. Promoting a diversity of learning opportunities.
Leaders need to ensure that employees are aware of (and encouraged to take advantage of) the wide array of learning opportunities available to them. Encourage learners to advance their professional development by attending industry conferences and events, networking with others in their field, and leveraging social media to share their expertise and learn from others.
Providing a variety of training options also guarantees that employees can find opportunities relevant to their individual responsibilities.
The ultimate goal is getting everyone at your company excited about what they are doing and making them feel invested in their work.
So, how do you go about building a positive learning environment for your learners and colleagues?
It starts with creating a culture of trust. Trusting each other, trusting ourselves and trusting in our potential. It starts with making sure that every learner has an opportunity to succeed and make sense of their experiences. And it starts with recognizing that we are not just learners — we are leaders, too.