While change and disruption are often leaderless, in order to leverage on the many shifts that our world of work is undergoing and to truly drive adaptation and adoption, a leader is required. But how can an organization ensure workplace leadership learning? A recent research by Skillsoft points out that better leadership can improve productivity (by eliminating 5-10% performance drag), boost customer satisfaction (by 3-4%) and lead to better turnover (with a difference of 32%). These facts and figures are a culmination of cumulative insights from over 6000 clients and bring to the surface a general universality in today’s context of leadership learning.
What leadership means today? And what are the practical ways of making leadership learning available with a focus on leadership development and designing high impact programs? An understanding of the phases of learning can play a key role in identifying the problem.
The 8 phases up the learning curve
Workplace learning, like any other aspect of the work environment, can be understood, implemented and measured better, if looked at as a process – a machinery that needs all its parts to function just right. The phases can be enumerated as the following actionable steps:
- Prepare: This is the first introduction that the learner has to the project. It primes the learner with the objectives, processes and goals. While this stage might require some handholding, it is in preparation to allowing more freedom.
- Communicate: This involves providing the learner with all the information that s/he might require. The kind of communication used is crucial because if it is not engaging enough, it would lead to a deflection of the learners’ involvement.
- Demonstrate: Showing the learners how to go about the new process allows them to see how all aspects of the environment interact and enables vicarious learning.
- Practice: Experiential learning increases engagement by creating a process that is more immersive, allows hands-on understanding and demands participation.
- Check: Feedback is the key to improvement and it is always wise to take a step back and assess progress before plunging into the next round of learning.
- Support: Learning needs to be corroborated by physical and virtual support that enables learners to make the most of the curriculum.
- Coach: Expert advise from mentors and coaches to have relevant experience adds a lot of value to learning processes and also brings in a note of credibility that eventually leads to assurance and belief in the process.
- Connect: To ensure that the learning is applied often and pondered upon, conferences and other means of social connect help by improving dialogue, sharing and collaborative thought.
Success in driving a workplace learning program depends on an understanding of why learning fails – it’s necessary to identify the key stakeholders and design an impactful learning program. Measuring the impact is another challenge area that needs attention. Leading & Development teams need to work towards creating effective program goals and success criteria.