Emily Marsh

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Technology is shaking up our approach to leadership development

May 7, 2019

Leaders today have a tough job to do. Constant change and increasing customer demands mean leaders need to apply adaptive and innovative thinking to new situations, every single day.

But what if you aren’t developing your leaders fast enough to keep up?

Developing leaders isn’t just about increasing knowledge. It’s about transforming how they think, act and behave so that they can lead effectively, and this transformation doesn’t happen in just one workshop.

After spending a whole day immersed in innovative thinking about leadership, of course leaders will be motivated about changing and improving the way they lead. However, it's unrealistic to expect them to keep that momentum once they step back into the day to day realities of the job. The enthusiasm and focus can rarely be sustained in the long-term when you’ve got goals, targets, and customers to think about.

Yet, we live in the digital age. Technology has driven a monumental change in the way the world works, including business. So when it comes to innovating and accelerating leadership development, technology provides a solution that makes it easier for both the leader who wants to develop and the business that wants to enable this.

Technology is enabling continuous learning

If you wear a Fitbit, an Apple watch or other wearable technology; your activity, exercise, sleep, weight and more are all continually tracked, keeping you motivated to reach your health and fitness goals. You have constant access to all this data as well as control over exactly what that data looks like. You see your step count is low so you choose to take a walk at lunchtime. You are even reminded to get up and move around when you’ve been sat at your desk for too long.

Just like wearable technology supports our health and fitness goals, technology can help leaders remain focused on their leadership development goals.

We've moved on from isolated leadership development programmes. We know that intensive learning is just one part of becoming a better leader, and there is great value in a longer-term solution that combines face-to-face learning with online learning, enabling a continuous learning journey on your path to becoming a better leader.

Just like our FitBits, we respond well to small, regular nudges of learning. We can provoke different leadership perspectives and get our leaders to question and make more conscious choices about the decisions they make and the actions they choose.

How much is technology enabling continuous learning in your organisation?

Online platforms act as a one-stop shop for leadership development

Online learning platforms are designed to both prepare leaders’ in the build-up to face-to-face training and support their behavioural transformation once back at work. They act as a one-stop shop for leaders’ long-term behavioural development, offering:

  • Pre module ‘micro learning’ to warm participants up to core leadership concepts, helping them build a foundation so that they can get more out of face-to-face sessions
  • Module ‘toolkits’ with access to personal psychometrics, such as your Facet5 personality profile, as well as 360-degree feedback from tools like Truth Teller
  • A personal learning dashboard with details of all face-to-face modules
  • After module goal setting and feedback - the learning doesn't stop there, with setting goals and proactively seeking feedback, we can keep our leaders changing to suit their teams and their environment better. 

An online platform is also a way to engage leaders’ in their own personal development. After all, people won’t change unless they actually want to change. You can use an online platform to host a welcome video from senior leaders across the business telling engaging stories about the company’s leadership principles and how this programme will support those principles. This is much more interesting than just reading a passage of text. Equally, video explanations of the modules with personal accounts of how that module has helped others can evoke strong emotions and pull leaders in even more. 

What do you think? How could an online platform benefit your ongoing leadership development journey?

A blended approach works

The blended approach to learning is better suited to the way we all work in real life, while still maximising the impact of face-to-face learning activities. Face-to-face sessions can be devoted to deeper levels of application. Technology then acts as the enabler to internalise the learning from face-to-face sessions.

Think about the leadership programmes you've been on. What has made the most effective ones stand out? What role did technology play?

At t-three, we believe that embedding behavioural change relies on a three-step process: Provoke, Plant, Practice. A blended, technology-enabled approach to leadership development complies to these three steps.

First, leaders need a compelling reason to change. Tools like Facet5 and Truth Teller raise leaders’ self-awareness and provoke them to recognise the areas of their behaviour they need to adapt in order to lead more effectively.

Face-to-face learning modules plant viable alternatives to their previous behaviours and offer a safe space for leaders to put them into practice.

Now back in the workplace, leaders need to embed these new behaviours into their everyday. To do this, they need opportunities to practice what they’ve learned and a method of tracking their progress with goals and feedback. An online platform can support all of this.

Technology doesn’t just benefit the individuals who are part of the leadership development programme though. L&D personnel can be given access to a portal that allows them to manage delegates, book face-to-face modules, invite people to events, and track and evaluate staff.

Technology helps equip leaders to embed and sustain behavioural change, improve performance, and be the best version of themselves. A leadership development programme with a blended approach of online learning coupled with practical face-to-face modules is bound to give any business a higher return on investment.

Would it even be such a stretch to predict that one day, wearable technology could play a role in supporting leaders in achieving their development goals? What do you think the future of leadership development looks like?

 Little book for the connected leader

Topics: Featured leadership development blended learning technology

  

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